Bush proclaims day of prayer

September 14, 2001 | Oklahoman, The (Oklahoma City, OK)

Author/Byline: Bobby Ross Jr.; Religion Editor | Page: 1-A | Section: NEWS 511 Words

Prayer will take precedence over lunch plans and high school football skirmishes as Oklahomans heed President Bush’s call to dedicate today to mourning the thousands killed in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Bush on Thursday proclaimed today a national day of prayer and remembrance, urging noontime memorial services and evening vigils.

The president encouraged employers to give workers time off to attend services.

“We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous loss,” Bush said. “All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives.

“We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.”

Bush’s proclamation prompted the governing body of high school sports in Oklahoma to recommend that schools cancel or postpone tonight’s scheduled games.

The recommendation applies to all extracurricular activities.

Carl Albert High School football coach Gary Rose said he supported canceling his team’s planned clash with Ardmore.

“I don’t like not playing. We prepared all week to play,” said Rose, who hopes his Titans can reschedule their game for Saturday.

“But I think when the president says, ‘Hey, let’s have a day of prayer,’ we all need to do that. One football game is not near as important as what’s gone on in our nation.”

Gov. Frank Keating is among a handful of governors invited by Bush to attend a service today at the Washington National Cathedral.

Bush said he will attend the prayer service before traveling to New York to observe rescue efforts at the demolished World Trade Center.

Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin will lead a “Moment of Reflection and Prayer” at noon today at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

“This is a time for Oklahomans to come together with all Americans in remembrance of the victims of Tuesday’s tragedy and to pray for healing for our nation,” Fallin said.

Participating in the observance will be the Rev. James A. Goin of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Rabbi David Packman of Temple B’Nai Israel, pastor Marty Grubbs of Crossings Community Church, pastor Dennis Newkirk of Henderson Hills Baptist Church, iman Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Dr. George Cooper of the Baha’i Center and pastor emeritus H.E. Walker of True Vine Independent Baptist Church.

Bush cited Scripture that says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

“We will persevere through this national tragedy and personal loss,” he said. “In the face of all this evil, we remain strong and united, ‘one nation under God.'”

The last time Keating attended a national prayer service, he sat a few seats from President Clinton amid grieving Oklahomans.

“We Oklahomans know first-hand the enduring effects of terrorism, and I know I speak for all Oklahomans when I say our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Americans who are in the midst of suffering,” Keating said.

“I urge people of all faiths to draw strength from that faith and join in prayer.”

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