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9/11 remembered in Korea

DAEGU, South Korea (BP)–Soldiers and officers at Camp Walker’s Evergreen Club in Daegu, South Korea, filled the tables, stood along a side wall and spilled out the door of the small dining room.

Col. Kenneth Kerr, the 8th Army Command Chaplain and ranking Southern Baptist chaplain on the Korean peninsula, had been asked to deliver a message at a prayer luncheon. Earlier in the day, Capt. Edward Choi, another Southern Baptist chaplain at Camp Walker, had delivered a message to soldiers at a prayer breakfast.

According to one official, these gatherings marked the first time that commemoration events of the 9/11 attacks have been held at Camp Walker. The chaplain’s office expects them to become annual events.

In his address, Kerr reminded the soldiers of the cost of freedom. Citing the number of lives lost due to war and conflict over the past century, Kerr noted Jesus’ warning of “wars and rumors of wars.”

Kerr said, “Then, on September 11, 2001, the U.S. was attacked on our soil by an enemy that wants to take away our political, economic and religious freedom.

“9/11,” Kerr continued, “was an attempt to strike terror and destroy our way of life.”

Kerr recalled being stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Sept. 11, 2001. A few months later, the casualties of the war on terror began to arrive. They were young men with mangled arms and legs paying the price of freedom.

In 2003 Kerr transferred to Arlington National Cemetery where he conducted nearly 2,000 funerals, mostly for veterans of World War II. At the end of the each service, Kerr would present the folded flag to the widow and express appreciation for her husband’s service.

“But the difficult ones were the 19-year-olds coming back from Afghanistan or Iraq, those with young wives, young children and parents younger than me who were devastated by the loss of their husband, father and son.

“This,” Kerr told his audience, “is the cost of freedom.”

Kerr challenged the nation to unite. Recalling the image of politicians gathering on Capitol Hill on that fateful day singing “God Bless America,” Kerr encouraged Americans to come together again, united in prayer for God to stand beside us.

He warned, “But we must unite under the right banner. We must unite ‘under God with liberty and justice for all.’

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach,” Kerr told the crowd. “Our victory depends on our moral and spiritual strength, and we must remember to unite under the banner of righteousness.

“As you arise each morning and put on your uniform, remember who you are fighting for,” Kerr concluded, “and continue to stand and fight if necessary for freedom’s cause.”
Ann Lovell is a media worker based in Seoul, South Korea, with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

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