By Kim West
About 40 people gathered Wednesday at the Limestone County Courthouse for a Patriot Day prayer service sponsored by the Athens-Limestone Ministerial Alliance and the Living Water Works Ministries.
On a bright and sweltering afternoon, Athens Police officers and firefighters from the city and county emerged from the deep shade of the courthouse trees to join event organizers on the steps.
The group honored those killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, including more than 400 rescue personnel.
Keith Davis of Seven Mile Post Road Church in Coxey said the attacks and other national disasters have spurred many people into charitable action. He said that spirit of giving should be maintained on a day-to-day basis.
“We’ve reached out in so many different ways, and I think we’ve (done) that because pain is a great equalizer,” said Davis. “Let us reach out to our neighbors (every day). Let’s feed the hungry and clothe the naked … let’s show the world who Jesus Christ really is.”
Jason Parnell, the new preacher at New Life Assembly of God in Athens, echoed the call for more compassion by his fellow church leaders.
“We need a revival of consciousness, a revival of spiritual awareness,” Parnell said. “We need to reach out, and not just when emergencies happen.”
Event organizer John Axford said similar ceremonies were held in 1,050 municipalities from Alaska to Hawaii and California to Virginia.
“Our mission is to bring Christ to our country … we need a great spiritual awakening to move through this country,” said Axford.
Tony Grigsby and Robert Helton of the Marine Corps League and the Limestone County Burial Detail presented the colors. Performances included the singing of “God Bless America” by Rebecca Nalley and “God on the Mountain” by Danny Cowan.