Occupying the pews were friends of the victims, members of the Hawthorne Lodge, Sons of St. George, and Brittania [sic] Lodge, Daughters of St. George, and members of Grace Church. The church was taxed to its capacity. Extra seats were placed in the rear of the edifice to accommodate those present.
The pulpit was draped with the English Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. Fifteen seats in the front pews were reserved for fifteen former residents of the Isle of Guernsey, the original home of those lost.
The sermon preached by the Rev. Henry Hale Gifford, Ph.D., rector of the church, was impressive. He spoke of the courage of those who went down that others might live. The heroic acts of those who perished, he said, will never be forgotten by the present generation. He said in part:
Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend. In the past two weeks we have witnessed the greatest manifestation of sympathy, anxiety, and sorrow in modern history. This terrible disaster has taken full possession of our thoughts and stirred our hearts as they were never moved before. It has changed the thoughts of the entire world and will never vanish from the minds of the men and women who experienced the disaster and survived it.
I have taken as my text the words of Jesus because they are signally exemplified in the recent terrible catastrophe. I suppose at no other time in the memory of man has there been such glory cast over disaster, when the hundreds of heroes sent their loved ones to safety while they so willingly remained to die.
There is a satisfaction in knowing that in this great century there are men and women who would show the great love that Jesus speaks of when he says Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.
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