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
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.