‘Life is a gift that can vanish forevever in the middle of an ordinary day’

By Ian McCallum, St. Thomas Times-Journal

At the first light of dawn, Sept. 11, 200l began as an ordinary day in New York City.

Fifteen years later, ceremonies were held across North America to pay tribute to first responders and other innocent victims of the World Trade Tower attacks that morning.

In front of the main firehall Sunday morning in St. Thomas, Rev. Roger Landell officiated at the commemorative service organized by the St. Thomas Professional Fire Fighters Association.

What began as a typical day in New York City, it would soon “heighten our awareness that life is a gift that can vanish forever in the middle of an ordinary day,” said Landell, chaplain for police, firefighters and paramedics in St. Thomas.

“For awhile, we were all one,” continued Landell. “In New York City alone, more than one in ten deaths were first responders. And the cost to families, friends, colleagues is staggering and still exist to this day. May we all draw inspiration from those who lost their lives in the line of duty.”

“The fact we are still here today remembering the bravery of the first responders and others who lost their lives that day speaks volumes to the love we share for our police, fire and paramedics,” added Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek.

“Thank you for the job you do in our community. We support you in every aspect of the job.”

For its First Responders’ Sunday, St. Andrew’s United Church welcomed the congregation and special guest, local EMS general manager Pauline Meunier, who received a certificate of appreciation from her son, Kailin.

The congregation offered blessings and support to all first responders, including the area’s firefighters and St. Thomas Police Service officer and members of the OPP.

During the sermon and fellowship after the service, instances of responders’ kindness, professionalism and dedication to duty were held up as examples of gospel values lived out in the community.