This guest post was written by Sergeant Craig Hungler, a Chaplain with the Dublin, Ohio Police Department and 9.11 responder.
As most who were adults on 9-11-01 I will remember precisely where I was upon hearing of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. It was a beautiful clear morning in Dublin, not a cloud in the sky. I was getting ready for my shift at the
Dublin Police Department. That afternoon I received the call that I had been anticipating all day. It was a call from The International Conference of Police Chaplains with whom I had been a member for 11 years, requesting I be on a team travelling to New York to assist by counseling police officers of the Port Authority Police Department.
Early that Sunday morning myself and two other chaplains from Central Ohio, Chaplain Leo Connolly of The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Chaplain Jeff Slider of the Delaware Police Department, headed towards New York. The entire drive up was full of questions which had no answers at the time. “How many officers would our team counsel?” “How many were dead?” “Would the three of us make any difference?” By far however the biggest question that loomed was, “WHAT will we say?” Thankfully, through prayer, words came forth and the questions were answered. We were there to have a ministry of presence with these officers who had lost so many friends. Those officers were not really looking for answers as much as they were looking for assurance, comfort and affirmation.
The three of us were there for a week the first trip. During this week we spent time with officers at Ground Zero; spent time with them in the substations and spent time with them in their homes talking with the officers and their families. The events of 9-11 had taken 37 of the Port Authority Police Department family, an agency which is much smaller than the NYPD who lost 23 personnel that evil day.
Despite the magnitude of the day and the evil force which carried out these attacks, there were certainly signs of God’s Love in New York following the attacks. This was evident in very tangible ways, not only in New York but in the entire Country. For a brief period of time it seemed that everyone in the country set aside their personal, political and career agendas to care for one another. People turned to their faith which was either already a big part of their life, or became a big part of their life. I remember speaking about this phenomenon during the year following the attacks. What a great place our country would be if we are able to hold on to the closeness we experienced following 9-11 for the long term, as a living tribute to all those who had their life taken on 9-11. Unfortunately, I feel this was lost within a few years of that dark day.
It is my prayer that you will join us this weekend at the Dublin Field of Honor, located on the field east of the Dublin Coffman High School football field. Come together as citizens to show the rest of Ohio, the nation and the world that we are a people of compassion and love. As you walk through the rows of flags, each one representing a life snuffed out on 9-11, pledge to live each day that you have in a way to honor those lives. What a wonderful State and Country we would have, but it must start with each one of us.
May God bless you not only this weekend but always. Look forward to seeing you this weekend!
~Guest post by Craig Hungler
NOTE: The City of Dublin Ohio will mark the 10th anniversary of 9.11 with an awe-inspiring display of flags that will pay solemn tribute to the 3,000 victims that died on this tragic and historic day. These 3 foot by 5 foot flags standing 8 feet tall in perfect rows will be on display from Saturday, September 10 through Monday, September 12 at the Dublin Coffman High School practice field across from Cardinal Health on Emerald Parkway. This collaborative community tribute will recognize the 9.11 victims and provide a field of remembrance for a day we can not and will not forget. For more information, visit http://dublin.oh.us/honor/