ONE DECADE LATER: Rev. Patti Keeler speaks to
IN RECOGNITION OF the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, people across the nation and around the world paused in recent weeks to remember and honor the lives lost and forever changed that day. Members of the MGH community gathered with MGH Chaplaincy staff, Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, and Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse, to mark the anniversary with a remembrance service Sept. 9. The service began with Michael McElhinny, MDiv, Chaplaincy director, recounting the events of that fateful morning, interspersed with the sounding of a gong and the reading of Psalm 23 by members of the Chaplaincy. The chaplains proceeded to light candles to the accompaniment of a harpist, and after an ecumenical prayer recited by Rev. Ann Haywood-Baxter, Slavin, Ives Erickson and McElhinny offered their reflections on the tragedy.
Slavin focused on the message “when in distress every man becomes our neighbor,” that founding physicians John Collins Warren, MD, and James Jackson, MD, articulated as part of the MGH mission and described how the events of Sept. 11 only heightened the urgency of that message. Ives Erickson expanded on the theme of MGH’s readiness to rise to the occasion in any time of crisis.
McElhinny described his initial feelings – along with the rest of the chaplains – of shock and being overwhelmed, but recalled how quickly he and the entire hospital mobilized to respond to the unfolding events. He emphasized the need for all to focus on hope as a motivating force going forward.
After a final musical interlude, the chaplains offered a blessing together, and then, each in his or her own language, bade attendees to go in peace