By David Knopf, News Editor
Mike Shane said America is at its best when it’s needed the most.
Shane, filling in Tuesday as chaplain at Shirkey Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, led a memorial service on the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
Shane said it is events such as 9-11 that seem to bring Americans together.
“Americans respond to the call to duty,” said Shane, one of several Ray County veterans who joined Shirkey residents for the service.
As examples of the call to duty, Shane pointed to the two World Wars, both of which required U.S. intervention when other nations were on the brink of being overwhelmed.
“The Germans were marching to Paris and who stopped them?” he said of the first World War. “It was the Americans – and at a terrible cost. And in World War II, who stopped the juggernaut? It was the Americans with their Christian-Judeo heritage.”
Throughout the service, Shane repeated the word “patriotism”, relating it to the call to duty, to faith, even to the community formed by the residents at Shirkey.
“You have made a house so much more,” he said. “You have made this a home. Patriotism. You were put here for a purpose.”
Shane and piano accompanist Helen Galle led the residents and veterans in patriotic songs, including “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Shane made special note of the last song, which was written in 1862, early in the Civil War, by Julia Ward Howe.
Despite the great losses on both sides of that war, the country healed itself and united in time for World War I.
“It seems like America is at its best when we come together at times like this,” said Shane, relating it to Sept. 11, Reconstruction and other critical times in U.S. history.
Before finishing, he took time to thank the residents and veterans for their service to the community, each other and to the nation.
“My hat is off to you,” he said. “I support you for what you have done and what you will do, because there is much left to be done.”