Nine Eleven

Like so many, today’s seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 brings back so many memories. As I join in the “moments of silence” today, I remember someone interrupting Morning Prayer in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center with the news that “a plane had apparantly hit the World Trade Center.”

After prayers, watching the news from our coffee break room with other staff…trying to get through to my fiancee who was in a meeting at General Seminary…being told to stay in the building…watching hordes of people, eventually, in the streets of New York…the incomprehensibility that this really could have happened…

Days later, standing in Grand Central Station, like some scene out of a WWII war movie, trying to get my wife-to-be on a train back to the Midwest since all the flights were cancelled…participating in a still-convened House of Bishops meeting where we pled for a thoughtful and studied response to this tragedy and to avoid retribution… 

Much later, serving as chaplains through St. Paul’s Chapel near Ground Zero…conducting two funeral services for the son of an Iowa priest and his wife who had been in the building… grieving at, not only the loss of life, but at the squandered “opportunity” for this country to stand in solidarity (for a change) with the world’s suffering, to accept the goodwill which came from all around the planet, and to turn this gut-wrenching sorrow into joy. 

Would it have been possible for this awful day to have been transformed into actions leading more closely to a world where “we all may be one?”

I guess we’ll never know…

But, it would have been good to have tried…

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