"We Will Not Forget"
Community Yellow Ribbon Service
Osceola, Iowa

This is a community service titled "We Will Not Forget" and involving the cutting of yellow ribbons for people of the community to symbolize our togetherness in time of national and community trial.  This service uses the 137 th Psalm which includes the lamentation of exiled Jews in Babylon following destruction of their sacred city of Jerusalem.  At the close of this service the community ministers and all of the participants held onto the yellow ribbon unrolled through the crowd, until prayers were complete.  Then the ribbon was cut so each person could take a piece to their homes or place of business to tie up as a sign of our unity.

Rev. W. Philip Coe
First Christian Church
Osceola, Iowa


Psalm 137   By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps,  for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"    How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill . May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.    Remember, O Lord , what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!"

       The Israelites had been captured and led away from their homes and lives into Babylon.

They had been conquered, their possessions and homes confiscated, many lives of family and friends had been lost, and they had seen their beautiful city of Jerusalem destroyed, including their temple and other sacred sights desecrated.

        They were a demoralized people who had lost their joy and song.

And so they wept as they remembered and hung their harps in the trees, for they felt they would never sing again.

       Their adversaries and conquerors mocked and tormented them in their grief and defeat.

Their tormentors heckled them and demanded that they sing their songs of joy to Zion and to their God, now that they were apparently down and defeated.

       But the children of  Israel  began to remember how it had once been, how God  had graced their lives and led their nation in righteousness and peace, and how He had promised that they would be His people as long as He was their God.

     And so they promised to each other, ?I will not forget.? and together ?We will not forget.?

We will not forget!

We have felt over the past week, many of the same feelings of exiled people. Uncertainty, fears, shocked at images we see and the stories we hear.

We too seem to have lost our song of joy.

We?ve lost our sense of security.

We?ve lost our optimism.

Ironically we?ve lost the image of one of our greatest cities.

But we have not lost our hope forever,

for we believe God has graced us greatly in the past, seen us through many trials of our nation and will continue to grace us in the future.

      We choose to say, ?WE WILL NOT FORGET.?

1. We will not forget the innocence and joy of a common day in America before last Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  

2. We will not forget the peace and freedom of life in these United States.

3. We will not forget the rule of justice under which we all did live and trust.

4. We will not forget the optimism, hope, and faith which has always buoyed us up, even in trying times of disaster.

5. We will not forget the safety and protection we felt and sought to insure for each other.

6. We will not forget the joy, laughter, and times of celebration that often filled our homes, our schools, our churches, our work places, and our community.

7. We will not forget the freedom from fear of annihilation, enemy invasion, and wars? suffering.


1.  We will remember that we are one nation under God and will continue to be.

2.  We will remember the innocent victims and their families in prayer and contribution.

3.  We will remember each other and be bound closer together in our nation, in our community, and under our God.

4.  We will remember our nations leaders and pray for them to receive Divine guidance.

5.  We will remember our children and their innocence and seek to protect them from undue fear and hate.

6.  We will remember how good it is when neighbors unite together in just cause and inspire other neighbors to do the same.

For sometime now in our country, the symbol of a yellow ribbon demonstrates ?We will not forget.?

And so we choose to be linked together in a time of prayer, by unrolling a piece of yellow ribbon and asking everyone to grasp hold of someplace along this ribbon, as we unite together in prayer.

(Unroll ribbon and ask everyone to take hold)

This ribbon unites us in memory now, and when our prayers are completed we ask each person to sever a piece to take to your home or place of business to tie up and display, and to say to everyone,

?Osceola will not forget!?

We hope others in our town will join in a city-wide effort of yellow ribbons and to express that here in our town, ?we will not forget? and ?God will not forget us.?