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Local faith leaders unite on day of remembrance

Lodi Police Department Honor Guard
Enter the American Legion Lodi Post 22 for Posting of the Colors

LODI - E pluribus unum.

Out of many, one.

Such was the overriding theme of the 2012 Patriots Day Commemoration service at the American Legion Hall Lodi Post No. 22 on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

More than 3,000 people from all walks of life showed up to work that day at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on airliners. Dozens more arrived at airports for travel.

Disparate origins, but one sad fate.

Not to be forgotten.

In similar fashion, religious leaders from disparate faiths gathered to remember.

There was an elegant, youthful simplicity of a prayer for peace from Mormon Elder Gavin Strawn. "I'm only 23," he said, but he still remembered strongly the day of the attacks. He was in seventh grade.

Rabbi Raphael Pazo offered wisdom from Moses about 3,000 years ago. He told the children of Israel they needed to actively remember so they would not forget.

And the Rev. Hatsuya Kusunoki of the Lodi Buddhist Church offered a mantra from a religion that has been around for millennia. "I want to express my respect for all the patriots of this nation ... working for peace throughout the world."

One hundred people joined the commemoration that was partly religious, partly patriotic and mostly poignant.

The Rev. David Hill of Grace Presbyterian Church reminded that about 12 percent of those killed Sept. 11, 2001, came from outside the U.S.

And so it was appropriate that the ecumenical devotions began with a reminder from Herb Horstmann, a lay leader from St. Paul's Lutheran Church, that some dates need no explanation. It ended with a prayer sung by Bhai Bhupinder Singh Ji, Bhai Gurcharn Singh Ji and Bhai Hardev Singi Ji of the Lodi Sikh Temple, and words from Bal Bahadur Singh Paul that, "We are a peace-loving people. ... An atrocity on any human being is an atrocity on God."

But perhaps the most poignant moment came when Pazo, leader of Congregation Keter Yisrael, invited members of the Lodi Mosque to share the rostrum.

Three came forward, among them Taj Khan, who recited the beginning of the Quran, and telling of Allah's compassion.

There they stood, representing two religions whose radical fringes have taken up arms against each other.

This time, the arms were used for embraces and handshakes.

Out of many, one.

Contact Record Deputy Metro Editor Barbara Zumwalt at (209) 546-8298 or

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Rabbi Dr. Raphael Pazo
Play "Amazing Grace" on the Bagpipes as Bagpiper for the Lodi Police Department Honor Guard

Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms
Reverently bows his head during a moment of silent reflection.

21-Gun Salute
Rendered by the Honor Guard of American Legion Ed Stewart Post 803, Stockton, CA

Gary McLaughlin
Plays TAPS during the Commemorative Honors portion of the program

Patriots Day Commemoration
September 11, 2012
American Legion Hall of
Lodi Post # 22, Lodi, CA

Music of Elegance and Distinction

by Dr. Raphael Pazo, Highland Bagpiper

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