We were sitting around a table having breakfast and studying a Bible passage when John Pappas, the host at B & J American Cafe, walked in and said to us, “There has been a terrible accident, a plan flew into the World Trade Center.” We stopped and immediately prayed for everyone there thinking this was some terrible accident. It was a clear beautiful September day, much like it must have been in New York City. My thoughts, even during the prayer, drifted to a terrorist attack years earlier when a bomb went off in the parking garage of the Center. Then I thought about my brother and where he might be in Manhattan.
Soon after I drove back to church and the staff had not heard about what I thought was an accident so we turned on the television and watched the Today Show narrate the unfolding tragedy. It was an horrific day – and most Americans remember where they were and what they were doing. It seemed in some ways like the day I heard the President Kennedy had been shot. The shock seared the moment into my memory and the collective memory of our country.
Today we put aside bickering and bitterness and remember. We put “us” back into U.S. We are a people who stand united in thought and prayer for the families who lost so much, the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate price or given up limbs and mental health, and we pray for ourselves that our hearts will not be hardened toward other cultures and races. We pray with St Francis:
- Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
- Feel free to share your story of that day with me or someone else as you remember the days that united our country so thoroughly in prayer and purpose.
- Be Well