First responders and law enforcement officials from the metro Atlanta area filled the Cathedral of Christ King for a special mass service in their honor.
The National Anthem, God Bless America and America the Beautiful would eventually echo through the sanctuary as parishioners and emergency officials paid their respects to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11.
“We have to be glad for who those people were,” Rev. Joel Konzen said about the emergency officials who answered the call in New York in 2001. “The way they responded to help others on that day and we have to try to restore their hope that those sacrifices were not in vain.”
Konzen said their heroic behavior that day is symbolic of core values in the Christian faith.
“Giving up your life for somebody else is very much at the heart of what we believe we’re called to do,” he said. “And these are people who certainly stepped forward and did that and we’re grateful for that and want to remember that.”
The service was also attended by many children who attend the Roman Catholic cathedral’s school. Konzen said it is important to show the kids, who were not alive during the Sept. 11 attacks, why first responders are honored on this day.
The Blue Mass service has been a yearly tradition in the United States since 1934.
It started after Father Thomas Dade of the Archdiocese of Baltimore formed the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society and celebrated the first Blue Mass for police officers and firemen that year.