West Van church honours 9/11 rescuers

North Shore first responders will gather Sunday to remember the hundreds of firefighters, police and paramedics killed in the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre exactly ten years ago.

At West Vancouver United Church, Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones will join West Vancouver Police Chief Peter Lepine and West Vancouver Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Cook in commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City.

Rev. Ross Lockhart, who will preside over the ceremony, remembered where he was “when the world stopped turning.”

“I was flying back from a mission trip in Africa on Sept. 11 when the attacks took place and was one of many folks trapped overseas for almost a week,” he recalled. “And I remember that feeling of wanting to be closer to loved ones because you just didn’t really know what was going on in the world.”

That search for community and for answers, Lockhart said, brought people to the church in droves and it’s that sense of collective remembrance that he hopes to recreate, even among those too young to remember that day in September.

“I have two kids — 7 and 5 — and my wife and I were talking about Sept. 11 and we realized the kids had no idea what we were talking about. And then I began to think about the Sunday school kids in our church and about how so many of them were born after 2001.”

All are welcome to attend the solemn ceremony, Rev. Lockhart said, adding that he expects numbers slightly larger than the church’s typical 350-plus attendees to make it to the service in honour of our local emergency workers.

In all, 341 firefighters, 60 police officers and two paramedics were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Centre buildings on Sept. 11, 2001.

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