NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand --
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band played at a special memorial service for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 at St. Andrew’s on Liardet Church here, Sept. 11.
The U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, David Huebner, the American rugby team, the Eagles, here to compete in the Rugby World Cup 2011, and many New Zealanders were present at the memorial.
The Eagles, in uniformity with navy blue suits with patriotic ties, filled five rows of pews to show their respect for those men and women who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
After the welcoming remarks, the audience rose for the presentation of the American and New Zealand flags, which were brought in by U.S. Marines and New Zealand fire fighters.
Once the anthems of the two countries were played, Huebner spoke on the attacks. But instead of focusing on mourning, he wanted to celebrate the healing and kindness of the nation.
“We commemorate, honor and celebrate the many people around the world working to prevent new attacks, working to confront and overcome violent ideologies, and working to address and remove the circumstances that create breeding grounds for violent extremism,” said Huebner. “We commemorate, honor and celebrate what violent extremists themselves fear most; the great human instinct for empathy, kindness and solidarity.”
Huebner went on to touch the audience with a story of a little boy who thought he could heal those hurt in 9/11 with purple flowers and replace the aircraft with cardboard airplanes he made himself.
During the service, Pastor Kim Francis recognized those who have felt the effects of the attacks of 9/11 over the past 10 years. The audience observed a moment of silence and the MARFORPAC Band finished their performance by playing Taps and Reveille.
“It was extraordinary - a huge privilege [to have the Marines here],” Francis said. “We felt really honored. (The band) played tremendously. More so, they were a tribute to the Marines.”