Police Scotland Prayer 10th. September 2020
Lord God, or Conscience of Choice, hear our prayer today as we pray for the Officers of Police Scotland, and take time to remember that most terrible of moments when the events of the day, changed the world, and , still cause ripples of hurt and division today, in the aftermath. The Day the Towers Fell!
And yet it was also a day of pride when all who protect, serve, and care, stood in awe, and with pride applauded the tremendous courage and passion of members of their profession, as personified on that September morning, by the officers of FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and others of amazing brothers and sisters of courage.
With little care for their own welfare they drove themselves into those Mighty Towers, with the one sole purpose to save life, and protect the injured. They climbed floor after floor with heavy equipment and aided the injured who were able to escape. Step by step they climbed not knowing just how bad the situation was, but knowing if they did reach their goal of reaching the outskirts of the burning Jet Fuel, and the collapsing floors above them, in a state of exhaustion they would be facing carnage.
A scene being acted out in Two Towers of Devastation! Both the victims of those Flights which had been taken over by evil!
As those brave uniformed souls fought ever upwards, they knew little if they were challenging, terrorism, accident, or a terrible unexplained nightmare that wreaked havoc on the Heart of New York that early Fall morning. The reason was not required in the emergency! Their purpose was to assist, to protect, to save, to face the terrors and hold them at bay, and try and challenge the unchallengeable! Their purpose was to aid the lives of many and not count to cost that could and would be taken.
Crack! It was a hellish loud wail they say!
The nightmare has been exposed to the world! Everyone close by and on their TV sets, saw the flames and the falling bodies from Tower One! As it fell and imploded in on itself, in a cloud of dust of Biblical Disastrous Imagery. But as they fell in a descending mushroom cloud, we saw what those heroes had been fighting within! Total Carnage and an impossible situation.
Crack! Again, the wail of the falling once again!
Tower Two, almost identical in its drama and terror, imploding into itself but also taking out smaller buildings, and ripping the frontage from many other business buildings within that square footstep of land, and smothering the subway and shopping mall in a death shroud of dust and masonry!
3,000 dead, a terror beyond description, an act of evil and hatred, a country heartbroken, and a world left astounded, fearful, and shocked at a sight you would never have ever wanted to see, never mind be part of. But on that day New York Cops, and Fire Fighters, Para Medics, Nurses, Doctors, and Port Authority staff, cared not for themselves, but with total courage ran to save and protect the victims!
They ran to save lives, they ran into history, and left a legend that influenced many of us?
I am often asked how long you have been the Force Chaplain, and I can tell them the exact moment! It happened on day two of the ‘Stockline Plastic Explosion’ It happened when Sir William Rea asked me as I was into my second day solid of working and living out my car, and being in attendance as a Chaplain to Strathclyde Fire Brigade. ‘Neil’ Where is my Chaplain he had noticed how busy I was and how the inter service relationships of that disaster, were playing out! My response was, your Chaplain is Doctor Morris, but he is 82. But it is fine I have been covering your cops and everybody is in good spirits. And with that a man whom I knew and respected shook my hand and said, ‘I will be in touch!’ Well the rest is history!
Sir William knew that I had worked at 9/11 as the CEO of Glasgow the Caring City, the Charity I had started with the late Dr. M. T. Shaheen, and he had knowledge that I had asked for some Strathclyde Officers to work with us as we got more and more into the rebuilding of The FDNY and The PAPD families. He also knew that I was commuting between New York and Glasgow as often as possible, to bring about the projects and support required, which we as a Charity were working with them on. He knew I had a passion for the welfare of emergency workers, and it was a passion that was founded in the aftermath of the Kosovan War, where GtCC were the first Scottish Charity into the conflict to bring aid, and of course He knew the New York story, the Cops from Glasgow who were all stars had not been slow in the telling of their experiences when they got home, and rightly so. (In fact, the music of the Charity CD Runrig made for us, which had been written by Blair Douglas ‘Angels from the Ashes’, he requested could it be played at his daughter’s wedding?) (Copies still available at no cost if anyone wants one?)
The handshake at Stockline was, ‘Welcome you’re a Chaplain to the Police in Glasgow’. The apprenticeship and love for the Police and other emergency workers, that was founded and confirmed in the rubble of those Twin Towers was my interview. And I repeat the rest is history, or in some cases from the last 19 years, our histories together. Chaplain and my Scottish Heroes of today the Cops of Police Scotland.
Lord God on day such as today, when we take time to reflect and think, even remember where we were at the very moment of tragedy? We are brought back to these days of COVID19, and the impact that it is having on our country. And with that reflection, although they do not get the credit, they are is due? You think about the challenges our Officers here in Scotland are having to face at this very moment.
The abuse, the attacks and violence, the spitting, the name calling, the constant challenges being made by many set on their own demands and purposes of personal gratification and negative wants? The risks of attack from knives and other instruments of damage, and sadly but becoming even more common in the UK today the risk of the Gun. The fact that many see the Police as their personal whipping girls and boys, and the misuse of the Force by certain bodies to protect the wants of their own personal agendas? Their so called right to protest satisfying their demands but placing our folks at risk! Without even a word of thanks or respect.
The drama of running into a burning building may not be to the fore, but the reality of being a Police Officer is, you go into the places, and see the sights, nobody else would want to, and once in you deal with the drama within, which is often the remnants of a sick mind, and an even sicker society.
For these unique people, who serve and protect, this day and always. Loving Lord God or Conscience of Choice watch all of them. And for those taken on that terrible Tuesday morning on the 11th. September 2001 may their memory always be precious, and may their families always prosper and be safe. We ‘Never Forget!’
Let us pray for All Officers and Staff of Police Scotland. The demands of the job, are great, but the quality of the people who will respond to these demands is even greater, they are unique in their dedication, professional in their service and response, just in their dealings, and when given the opportunity to show what they do best, compassionate and caring with the souls in hurt and pain, using commons sense as there first tool of use no matter the challenge.
Whatever the next seven days hold, whatever the challenges, Lord God or conscience of belief, watch over the Team, and protect and keep them safe as they protect and care for the communities they serve, and the public they protect! Watch over their families and loved ones, who give them the nurture and encouragement, affirmation, and love to be the best that they can be. And no matter the challenges to be faced this week, let them know that from the Chief to the youngest probationer, they are respected and appreciated, and often prayed for by those who in the name of faith hold them in the highest of regard and appreciation.
At the end of each shift, from Highland, Island, Hamlet, Village Town and City, Nook and Carnie, may the Officers of Police Scotland, know the blessing of the faiths, and the people of conscience, in order that at the end of each shift they can return home to a place of personal love and security, to their loved ones and life partners. Until called upon again to start over once more protecting and serving Scotland on their next shift!
Lord God, watch over the Cops in my Pastoral Care, this week and always,
Rev. Neil Galbraith Force Chaplain.
I asked my friend and former Community Officer for Cathcart, to write some of her NYC memories, (Joanne and Margaret my wife, were the team that went out first and came back and said ‘They just need somebody to love them! And we did’).
Inspector Joanne Lancaster Ayrshire Division.
It was a great privilege to be part of the planning and delivering of the Glasgow Caring City and New York Port Authority Police Department and FDNY holiday for recuperation family trips.
In the early planning stages I was invited into ground zero when it was still a recovery operation. The pain etched on the emergency services faces as they tried to recover their colleague’s bodies from the site.
At the same time, I could feel the determination to complete this task with compassion and empathy to help grieving families come to terms with their extreme loss.
The following year the families arrived in Scotland for a much-needed rest. The traumas and sadness were written across their faces. The time spent with these families was humbling and has left me with memories that I will forever cherish. To hear the children, laugh as the week went on and to see the stress lift from the mums faces. Friendships were formed that will last a lifetime. I will never forget and will always pay remembrance to those individuals, from emergency services, to people working in the towers who lost their lives on the day of this horrendous attack.
The families of 9/11 are incredibly special to me. I will forever cherish the entire experience. They all left me with a footprint on my heart.