Eleven years later, a group of Carroll County residents have joined a nationwide movement to hold faith-based 9/11 memorial services, known as “Cry Out America,” on courthouse steps around the United States.
Sara Popphan, the Carroll County coordinator for “Cry Out America,” is working with a local ministry group, Unity at the Cross, to stage a 10:30 a.m. service Tuesday on the Carroll County Courthouse steps. The national organization promoting the program is the Awakening America Alliance, based in Cleveland, Tenn.
“We want to show a unity of one accord on that day, on courthouse steps across the nation,” Popphan said Thursday. “We’ll be praying for an awakening and spiritual renewal in our land.”
Popphan said she is trying to contact all local churches, to have them put a listing of the service in their bulletins and make announcements in Sunday services. She can be reached by calling 770-834-1919, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eugene and Diane Weis of Unity at the Cross are putting the memorial program together.
Speakers for the ceremony will include Chaplain Keith Jiles of Carroll County Sheriff’s Office; Duane Hack, chapter president of West Georgia Right to Life; Jim Balenger, vice-chairman of the Republican Party of Carroll County; and Karen Moline, a Carroll County resident.
“We’re going to be offering prayers for our federal government, local government and our communities,” Eugene Weis said. “We’ll seek the will of God and seek his help in our normal day activities.”
Weis said his group had received permission from the county to use the courthouse steps, but he wasn’t sure at the time which set of courthouse steps would be used.
Weis said he and his wife formed their ministry, Unity at the Cross, after she woke up one morning five years ago with a message to hold public meetings at the large cross on Bankhead Highway in Carrollton. The group now holds services there five times each year. During this year, services were held in March, May, June and July. The final 2012 service will be held at the cross on Oct. 20.
Weis said the $25,000 cross was the idea of a Sunday School class of the First United Methodist Church in Carrollton.
“The late Horace Carden was very instrumental in getting the design and putting a good portion of the money toward erecting the cross,” Weis said.
The 50-foot tall structure is made of a flannel substance with a steel structure which lights up at night with a blue aura, he said. The First United Methodist Church leases the small property footprint for the cross on Bankhead Highway and also maintains the cross and pays the electric bill.
Commenting on the events of 9/11, Billy Wilson , executive director of the Awakening America Allliance, said Tuesday’s prayer initiative will include believers from a wide range of denominations, who will join hands and hearts at sacred assemblies in all 50 states, at 2,531 registered prayer points, including Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. Wilson called on people to join in prayer next Tuesday:
“On Sept. 11, 2001, America was shaken to its foundation by a series of surprise terrorist attacks. All of us were awakened to the new reality of global terrorism. Ten years later, our nation needs to be awakened again, not just to the threats of terrorism, but to our critical spiritual condition.
“Americans are now in desperate need of a fresh Christ Awakening. Our economy has been deeply shaken. Overall church attendance continues to decline across the nation. America is now the third largest mission field in the world and an entire generation is growing up with little understanding of absolute truth. Yet, in what appears to be a very trying time for the Church in this nation, we believe that America is on the verge of a sweeping move of God’s Spirit that will touch every state, every county and every heart. Americans are now in desperate need of a fresh Christ Awakening.”
The 9/11 attacks were a series of four suicide attacks coordinated to strike the areas of New York City and Washington, D.C. On that Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Both towers collapsed within two hours.
Hijackers also intentionally crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and intended to pilot a fourth hijacked jet, United Airlines Flight 93, into the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
However, Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa., after its passengers attempted to take control of the jet from the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, including the 246 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes, none of whom survived.
The webpage for the Carrollton-based group, Unity at the Cross Ministries, Inc., is www.unityatthecross.org.
The webpage for the Awakening America Alliance is www.awakeningamerica.us.