By Rachel Olsen
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used common themes in blessing and protecting America and for remembrance of those afflicted after Tuesday”s attack at a memorial and prayer service held Friday, Sept. 14.
The Church of Jesus Christ held a memorial service in response to President George W. Bush”s declaration for a National Day of Mourning. The services were broadcast from the Tabernacle all over the nation at noon in four times zones.
Services started with the ringing of the Nauvoo Bell, a symbol of religious freedom, for three minutes.
President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, opened the services in prayer and asked that the Lord would “stand as a protective shield against those who attempt to destroy this precious land.”
Throughout the service, church leaders, in prayer and supplication, asked those present to remember the victims, rescuers and their families.
President Boyd K. Packer and Elder Henry B. Erying also read selections from the Old and New Testaments.
The services were predominantly musical with selections sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Recognizing the solemn occasion, the choir wore black dresses and tuxes with red ties.
Songs promoted solace and comfort with “Nearer My God to Thee” and “Where Can I Turn for Peace”.
Music was also chosen throughout the service that celebrated America. Directly before the benediction, in beautiful melody, the choir and congregation joined together to sing “America the Beautiful”.
“It brought tears to my eyes to hear so many people in the Marriott Center and Tabernacle join with the choir in singing ”American the Beautiful”,” said Kimberly Josephson, 19, a senior from Richland, Wash, majoring in Psychology.
Those present showed sorrow and sadness as President Gordon B. Hinckley asked the congregation to stand and join in a moment of silence.
Ending the service President Hinckley prayed to “let those who mourn know that mortal life is not the end.”
“We love this, our native land, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”