St. Luke Remembers 911
by William Lee - Staff Writer
Source: The Daily Southtown - Date: September 12th, 2006
Like it was yesterday, the Rev. Andrew Harrison remembers where he was
when he heard about the September 2001 attacks.
On that fateful day, the pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Palos
Hills recalled hearing accounts of the attack on the radio while returning home from
During a special memorial service Monday night, commemorating the
attacks and fallen American soldiers, Harrison recalled his initial rush of anger against
the then-unknown enemies, followed by a feeling of sorrow.
Since then, Harrison has made it his mission to honor those killed in
the Sept. 11 attacks.
His quest resulted in his church, 10700 S. Kean Ave., receiving
several 9-11 items, including a steel beam from the World Trade Center and stones from
the field where United Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.
On Monday night, those items were displayed at the church's altar
while various speakers called on the audience to remember the lessons of the attacks.
Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett also recalled a mixture of confusion
and anger upon hearing of the terrorist attacks. He implored audience members to never
allow 9-11 to become just another day.
The hourlong program at St. Luke was thick with pro-American themes and
calls for residents to stay the course against terrorism. Addresses to the crowd were
punctuated with singing of patriotic standards such as the "Star Spangled Banner,"
"God Bless America" and the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
The evening's keynote speaker was Army Reserve Brigadier Gen. William
Kirkland, the commanding officer of a training center in Wisconsin.
In his comments to the crowd, Kirkland, a 31-year Army veteran,
strongly supported the war in Iraq. He also was unflinching in speaking of his religious
faith, despite what he called pressure to remove faith from the public.
"I'm not big into any of that," Kirkland said. "I believe in God, I
pray to him every night and pray that our soldiers come home."
The Sept. 11 attacks, he said, qualify as one of America's days of
infamy, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"The questions will be if we will cower and run and hide," Kirkland
said. "It's against our nature as Americans to run and hide. I would rather die then run
After Kirkland's speech, two members of the local Civil Air Patrol
read the name of the 101 Illinois servicemen and women who have died during the past
year while serving their country.
Harrison said he was surprised at the level of support he has received
in bringing the terrorist attacks relics to his church. He hopes the items will help
keep the attacks at the forefront of his parishioners' minds.
"If we continue to ignore the past, we will relive it," Harrison said.
"No one wants to live Sept. 11, 2001, again."