Religious Leaders Organize 9/11 Ceremony

Minnesotans will gather at the state Capitol Sept. 11 to remember terrorist attacks 10 years ago and to prove people from diverse backgrounds can work together.

Immediately after the attacks, most in the country felt “we are all together, we are all Americans,” said Gail Anderson, chairwoman of a committee organizing the Minnesotans Standing Together event. “That is what we want to recapture.”

If the very diverse religious community can come together to plan such a service, the overall community should be able to work together, too, Anderson said.

The event will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 11 in front of the Capitol, the scene where a service in the days following the attacks drew 35,000.

Organizers range from Jewish to Muslim to Christian. Speakers will include Gov. Mark Dayton and first responders.

One person who may not be there is former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was praised for his handling of post-Sept. 11 reaction in Minnesota. Anderson said the organizing committee did not think of inviting the controversial governor.

Ventura’s long-time spokesman, John Wodele, said he invited the former governor to the event Sunday night, but does not know if he will attend.

At the 2001 service, Ventura delivered a speech with many of the same themes expected this year.

“While this gathering of Minnesota families is to comfort to what has happened, let it also be a sign of hope; hope and determination that together, united in family, strengthened by love, driven by opportunity, and tempered by respect for all humanity, we will overcome this tragic moment,” Ventura said.

Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church said healing from the Sept. 11 attacks is on-going. He said the ceremony will help drive home the point that the country rapidly is becoming the most religiously diverse and can show that leaders of various religions can work together without compromising their own ideals.