Friday, September 11, 2009

Youngsters Pray for Victims of 9/11 at San Francisco Giants Ballpark

Members of a Sacramento church youth group travelled to the 9/11 memorial at the San Francisco Giants ballpark today to learn about the tragedy and to pray for the families of the victims.

'A lot of these students are very young and they didn't realize the full impact of what happened eight years ago,' said one of the youth pastors, Jared, as they stood at the Willie Mays Plaza. Around him were enormous banners bearing the names of everyone who died.

'There are families and groups of friends in mourning today. We just want to take time to pray for them, pray for peace out of respect for them,' he said.

'It was a huge impact on our country at the time.'

By now it was mid-afternoon, warm and sunny, and many people were pausing to gaze at the banners, take photos and contemplate. The banners were designed by the Giants and hung on the first anniversary as a public tribute to remember everyone who died. Some were Giants' fans. Many other fans were affected.

The youngsters were from an Assemblies of God church and just before had finished a scavanger hunt. They were resting among the banners. Then they gathered around Jared, who reminded them of the victims and those, like fire fighters, who gave their lives.

'We remember them - the victims - in our hearts and say a prayer for them,' he said, before encouraging the group to focus on the banners and pray.

Another of the youth pastors was Raul, a New Yorker whose family were touched by the disaster.

'The banners are a big deal because my family were all born in New York. My aunt and my cousin both worked near the World Trade Center. They both called in sick that day,' he said.

Twenty-five-year-old Randy, one of the older members of the group, thought the visit to the Giants' memorial was 'great'.

'There's nothing better than to bring back awareness to the day that shook our national history. The least that we can do is come together and pray for the families of the fallen people, the heroes that went in to save lives,' he said.

'I think it's a great honour that our youth group brought us here and we're able to do this.'

Eighteen-year-old Mondii said, ' It feels so unreal that it - 9/11 - happened. There's still so many families out there...this day, they remember what happened.

'It's for everyone to remember and not to forget. It changed our history.'

pics show: people clustering at the Willie Mays Plaza; the youth group stand to pray; Jared, center, in red and white checked shirt; Raul; Mondii and Randy

For more info on the banners:

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