Past Event – Buchanan 9/11 Commemorative Service

From Left to Right: Officers of Berrien County Sheriff, Berrien County Chairman Mac Elliott, Sheriff Paul Bailey, Buchanan Fire Chaplains Brandon Bishop and David Spurlock, Michigan State Police Niles Post and Buchanan City Police Department officers. Photo by Rebecka Hoyt

Buchanan – Only City in Berrien County, MI to Have 9/11 Commemorative Service

by Editor & Photographer, Rebecka Hoyt

For the past twenty years, the nicest place in America (voted by Readers Digest in 2020) – Buchanan, Michigan has hosted a 9/11 commemorative service. On the 21st anniversary of 9/11, Buchanan, Michigan was the only city in Berrien County to have a service. The reason to keep having this service is to never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Pastor Dave Mitchell said “We’re not going to stop, but we need to remember and this community is recognized for its kindness and generosity and remembering lives that touched us.”

Normally, this event is held at the Common in downtown Buchanan. Due to inclement weather during the afternoon, the service was moved across the street to First United Methodist Church at 132 S Oak Street at the 7 – o’clock evening hour. With very few seats left open, many first responders, the Buchanan High School Marching Band along with others, stood in the back and sides of the sanctuary. 

Participants in attendance for the service were: American Legion Post #51 for posting of the colors and a 21 – gun salute, American Heritage Girls & Boy Scouts for leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Buchanan High School Marching Band playing the National Anthem and songs of each armed service, Buchanan City Police Department, Michigan State Police Post of Niles, Buchanan City and Township Fire Departments, Sheriff Paul Bailey of Berrien County, County Chairman Mac Elliott Berrien, City of Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison, Chaplains Brandon Bishop & Dave Spurlock, Michigan State Representative Brad Paquette and pastors of Buchanan churches.

A similar theme of how our nation united together and respecting each other was heard throughout the speakers. City of Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison stated, “We need to take the time to pause and reflect. That’s the year 2001 we need to remember…, and be respectful of one another.” 

Berrien County Chairman Mac Elliott remembers where he was on 9/11, “We were in living rooms and on computer screens all over the world and I was in the Niles courthouse and stopped what we were doing as the second plane hit the world trade center second tower. Al-Qaeda has returned to Afghanistan. Freedom is not free. We need God more than ever and a spiritual renewal source in our country. And that will come through with the strength of faith.” 

Michigan State Representative Brad Paquette reflected on Mayor Denison’s speech: “The Mayor mentioned in our very politically decisive time is to step back and reflect upon that we have greater enemies out there that want to do away with our ways of living and we do government and live up the liberty of the freedom that we have been blessed by the Lord.”

Buchanan City Police Chief Harvey Burnett, “We as a nation united as one, united we stand, was a dominant theme across the nation. We put everything aside to support each other in healing, rebuilding and renewing hope. Are we still united? Sadly, we are even more divided than ever before. Our theme now is us versus them. In politics, policing, religion and everything that requires us to relate to each other as human beings. Where love should permeate, where empathy and caring should be a guide, we hear screw you, it’s all about me and my rights. We control what we say and where one of the greatest universal commandments that says love your neighbor as yourself. It should be how we treat one another…. Why does it take a traumatic event to bring us together? In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s book Measure of a Man, “We are God’s marvelous creation and as such we can do things that lower animals can’t do…we can think of a great civilization, we can look up at the beauty of the stars and comprehend them, mostly importantly we can comprehend who our creator is and have a relationship with Him.” Police Chief Burnett ended with: “We unite the good of all. This is how we continue to honor them all. United we stand. United we stand, divided we fall.”

Pastor Dave Mitchell announced that this is his last year of putting this service together for the past 20 years, and David Spurlock will continue on in the years to come. He stated, “I did two tours at the world trade center after 9/11 and it’s about loving and not getting paid. We make a difference everytime we come together and speak for our unity, not what separates us. So thank you for letting me be involved in your lives.” He also thanked Phyliss Davis of the Blue Star Mothers that sent care packages to the military. At the end of his speech, a standing ovation was given to him.

Chaplain Dave Spurlock stated: “A challenge to the young people: to not forget.”

May our city and nation be united as one and never forget!

About Buchanan Area Ministerial Association: This group is made of different churches in Buchanan. Their page is a great way to stay up to date on different events BAMA is hosting, but more importantly it is a great way to see how God is moving in Buchanan.

BAMA Facebook:


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