by Spc. Neisha Rogers
Washington (Army News Service, March 21, 2000) – More than 400 chaplains and chaplain assistants have assembled a stain glass window in honor of victims of the Sept. 11 Pentagon tragedy. The Chaplain Corps Annual Senior Leadership Training conference at Hilton Head SC provided each attendee with a numbered piece of glass to place in the window frame in early March.
“Through creation of this stained glass window, we expressed our faith as well as honored those we remember who were taken from us,” said Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Gaylord T. Gunhus.
Dennis E. Roberts, artist and owner of IHS Studios in Fredricksburg TX, donated the piece. He said he was honored and privileged to be able to help create something to remember the victims of the attacks, especially considering his own military service.
Roberts spent more than 50 hours designing and more than three weeks cutting some 500 pieces of glass to fit into the frame. There are 184 red pieces representing the 184 men and women who were killed at the Pentagon.
“It is awe inspiring — the artist donating his time to design it and then letting the soldiers put it together. It's like being a part of another part of history,” said Master Sgt. Rashida Valvassori, 77th Regional Support Command, Fort Totten, NY.
“It is very symbolic to take the broken pieces of glass and put them together to make a beautiful picture,” said Lt. Col. Richard D. King, chief of Personnel Proponent Office, Chaplains Center and School, Fort Jackson, S.C.
The focus of the conference was on spiritual leadership, and having a positive influence on soldiers. Many in attendance were stationed near the areas that were attacked. They said being a part of the assembly had special meaning because it allowed them to begin their own healing process.
“It gives us a chance to reflect, refocus, and renew our spirit,” said Gen. Gunhus.