September 9, 2021
As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, East Texas Baptist University paused to remember and honor the men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. On Wednesday, September 8, the University held a special chapel service featuring a video presentation, memorial wreath, display of flags, salute to public servants and military personnel, and a special address from ETBU Dean of Spiritual Life Scott Stevens.
“In addition to the sheer tragedy of the loss of life on September 11, 2001, there was also a loss of peace,” Dr. Stevens said. “There was an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and fear. But still in the midst of this, we also saw the best of our fellow citizens. We witnessed the courage and bravery of our first responders. We heard countless stories of sacrifice, and we experienced the power of unity. The world changed in profound ways on that day.”
The University hosted several local first responders for the chapel service, during which ETBU Financial Aid Counselor and former United States Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Oscar Castaños led a Scripture reading and prayer. Director of Edification and Philanthropy for Edify Cary Hilliard gave the keynote message, where he encouraged all in attendance to recognize the power of partnership and prayer as we strive to learn from each other and show the love of Christ.
“After September 11, 2001, America rallied around the cross,” Hilliard said. “America rallied around community. America rallied around the red, white, and blue. Unified in cause, and unified in purpose. Partners in the mission. First Corinthians 3 reminds us that we are co-laborers with Christ and with each other when we seek to fulfill the mission of Jesus, to share the love of God in a lost and dying world, to share light in the darkness. We have a mission to share the love of Christ. And this mission continues on. Even though 9/11 was 20 years ago, it is important that we remember it so that we don't fall into the same trappings. So much of our world has changed, and evolved since then. But one of the things that God has reminded us of is the power of partnership.”
2,977 American flags were planted on the lawn of Marshall Hall to represent the lives lost in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago. The ETBU campus community was encouraged to visit the flag memorial and pause in a moment of prayer and remembrance for the 9/11 victims and their families.