20 Years ago on the morning of September 11th, it was business as usual at the Faith Baptist Church in Altoona.
The pastor of the church Gary Dull was conducting a routine meeting whenever he found out about the attacks.
He knew immediately that he had to call a prayer gathering to help people cope with the events of that day.
That night, more than 500 people came together in the church to comfort one another and unite in prayer.
The following day presented him with an invitation to lead the Nation in prayer, and it also showed him nothing could shake our resolve or our sense of patriotism.
“On the morning of September 11th we were in a staff meeting here at the church. The secretary came in and said that a plane went into the tower there, in New York City, on of the World Trade Towers. So, we were concerned about that. But then a few minutes later, she came back in and told us that the second plane had hit the second tower, and so we started to think, ‘my, my something is really taking place.’ And, of course, the story unfolded and we heard about the Pentagon and over here in Shanksville.”
“And I can remember about eleven o’clock that morning, I thought, you know, we need to call the community together in prayer.”
“People had come in from all over the area. The places was packed as we really had a community wide prayer meeting. Emotions were high and people just wanted to get together with the lord and pray, and that’s what we did.”
“The next morning, I was sitting in my study here at the church and the phone rang, and it was the Director of a Ministry. The Ministry was called ‘Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital. And he
was asked by those in the Government, at that particular time, to put together a prayer meeting at the Pentagon for the following Friday, which would have been the fourteenth of September.
And he asked me if I would speak and, of course, I was honored; I thought first of all, I’m not qualified to do this, what am I? But I was involved with that ministry, and so they asked me to speak.
So on Friday morning, early, I left Altoona to go down.”
“Practically every bridge that I crossed under had a flag flying and our motto ‘In God We Trust’ or ‘God Bless America’. It was very evident that people were patriotic. It was very evident that
people were exercising their faith in the lord or praying. I mean it was everywhere, the whole way down the highway.”
“And, when we approached the Pentagon, the Pentagon was still smoking; smoldering from where that plane had gone in. When I saw that, you know, tears welled up within my eyes; that we were attacked!”
“I had no idea what to speak on. I was emotional. I wanted to give a message that would give encouragement to people. God brought to my mind psalm 46:1, where it says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble, therefore will we not fear. Though the earth be removed, and carried into the midst of the sea; though the mountains shake and the swelling thereof. God
is in the midst of her, god shall help her and that right early. Be still and know that I am god.”
“And so, I took that text from psalm 46 and spoke on it that day, and the prayers from the other people that were rendered, it was just a very special time.”
“And to this day, twenty years later, I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to be a part of our National history in that way. It’s something that I’ll never forget.”
Pastor Dull hasn’t slowed on his commitments to honoring the lives lost that day, as he is helping the Blair County 9/11 Anniversary Committee put the final touches on its 20th Anniversary
Observance, which will be held this Saturday at the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona.
Admission to the ceremony is free, but tickets are required to gain entry to the event.
Doors open at 6 pm and there will be a limited number available at the door.