On the Front Lines for Our Country
September 12, 2001, Darold Bigger's flight from Washington, D.C. was to return him back to Walla Walla and the beginning of fall quarter's classes. That flight, of course, never flew.
The events of September 11 altered all his plans for fall quarter.
The Chief of Navy Chaplains' offices are located in the Navy Annex to the Pentagon. Minutes before the fire alarms sounded in their office building that Tuesday morning, a boom followed the sound of a screaming jet flying just overhead. As soon as those in the building got outside, the fire and smoke from the Pentagon captured their attention.
Earlier that morning the staff had gathered around a television set to
watch CNN's overage of New York. Puzzled by the attack on the
first tower, they watched live as the second plane hit the second tower. No doubt then about the intent or seriousness of the attacks. They prayed together for those then suffering and for the rescue efforts before returning to work. But life was not to be the same for him anymore than it was to be the same for us. For the next three months, Washington, D.C. became home base for Bigger.
|Darold meets with Coast Guard |
personnel at the New York harbor.
Initially he helped at the Pentagon itself, coordinating the emergency work of chaplains from all branches of the military during the first day, then overseeing the mobilization of Religious Ministry Teams to aid recovery efforts in the weeks that followed. Ten days after the attack he made a trip to New York City to visit the Coast Guard and Navy Religious workers there.
During the ensuing weeks, the Chief of Chaplains and Deputy Chief of Chaplains needed to stay very near D.C. for regular strategy planning and meetings. Bigger traveled frequently on their behalf, visiting installations, attending meetings, and speaking. Several trips to New Orleans, headquarters of the Naval Reserve Force and Marine Forces Reserve, kept him up to date with his full-time staff who work there.
While he was away fall quarter contract teachers stepped in to teach his classes.
Back home now in Walla Walla, Bigger returned to teaching winter quarter. He frequently makes short trips to encourage and monitor the delivery of religious ministry to those in the Navy, Marine Forces and Coast Guard Reserve.
Last update on August 4, 2010