Every year on Sept. 11, our country mourns the loss of the men and women who died in the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. But for many Patriot Day is a time for both remembrance and service.
In New Lenox, that giving spirit is at its strongest. The annual ShareFest event, which united more than 500 volunteers last weekend, concluded Tuesday with a ceremony at the Village Commons' Firefighters Memorial.
"The call to greatness here in New Lenox is an annual event called ShareFest and in that event, the spirit of America and the compassion and generosity, the outpouring of service and kindess of other people is well represented," said Fr. Don Bates of .
Representatives from the , , Will County Sheriff's Office and United Methodist Church spoke, as did Mayor Tim Baldermann.
"I remember 9/11 and the horror of it, but I also remember how we came together as a country," Baldermann said. "Now that we are facing difficult times of a different nature and have an election this year, and our country is divided again, we have to remember that we have the freedoms we do because of our men and women in the military."
The event paid tribute to the 9/11 victims, including the emergency responders, as well as military personnel with a moment of silence, gun salute and lowering of the U.S. flag to half-staff.
Everyone thanked the local police and firefighters for their continued service to the community and commented on New Lenox residents' willingness to answer the call to serve.
That was evident last weekend through ShareFest, when volunteers completed 21 service projects for residents, collected about 4,000 food items and 5,000 books and helped in countless other ways, including health/safety and job fairs.
"All of this is representative of that kind of giving spirit that is part of being a good citizen," Bates said. "You are fulfilling the work of God on earth. God has no other hands but our hands, no other legs and feet but our legs and feet and no other heart but our hearts."
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