A crowd gathered on the Grundy County Courthouse lawn Wednesday to take time to remember those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and to pray for the future during the Cry Out America event.
Eight local churches participated in the Grundy County Cry Out America event coordinated by the Rev. Rich Giovannetti of Standing in the Word Ministries.
Cry Out America is a grassroots prayer and renewal movement seeking to unite citizens of every state, county and church in prayer for a Christ awakening in the nation on Sept. 11, according to awakeningamerica.us. The prayer gatherings are located at state capitols, courthouses, city parks and other locations.
The goal is to raise awareness of the country’s spiritual needs, seeking forgiveness and God’s intervention and promoting a unity of local believers.
“Twelve years ago today there were 19 people who didn’t like our freedom, who didn’t like our faith, who didn’t like our government or our way of life,” said Giovannetti of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and a failed attempt on Washington, D.C.
“They are cowards and what they did is unacceptable, but it reminds us as a nation that our democracy is frail,” he said.
Freedom cannot be taken for granted, Giovannetti said.
He and about eight other religious officials prayed with the crowd for America’s government, armed forces and civil servants, the economy, children, family, education and for church.
A presentation of the flags was done by the Marine Corps recruiting office in Morris. The Immaculate Conception Children’s Choir sang several patriotic songs.
“We all have to remember the past and what happened, and have to pray for what is going on now and in our future,” said Nancy Bennett of Morris, a participant in the event Wednesday.
During the ceremony, Giovannetti also shared the timeline of devastating events on 9/11 from when the first plane took off from the airport to United 93’s pilot Todd Beamer’s famous last words, “Let’s roll,” before he and other passengers took the plane back from the hijackers and crashed it before it reached Washington, D.C.
Beamer was on the phone with an operator through some of his last moments while he and the other passengers decided to fight back, and during that time he and the operator recited the Lord’s Prayer, Giovannetti said.
He was praying, Giovannetti said, when he decided to save what could have been the White House or other significant building in Washington, D.C.
The ceremony closed with the choir, and much of the crowd, singing “God Bless America.”
“We’re in a dark time right now and the more people who stand up and bombard heaven with prayers the better off we are,” Jackie Coyne of Coal City said.