9-11-11

We remember this day, ten years ago today.

We remember how clear and blue the skies were that morning.
We remember what we were doing.

We remember it as a day interrupted.
We remember initial shock and disbelief,
and a gradually unfolding horror.

Amidst what would become iconic images of smoke and flame,
dust and ashes, death and destruction,
we remember the simpleness of great sadnesses:
folded faded photographs of the missing,
homemade posters, tears tracking dirty faces,
lists of names, and the desperation of loved ones.

We remember acts of incredible bravery, dedication and sacrifice—
of commitment to duty—
kindness and compassion.
Amidst terror, it was also a day of every-day heroes.

We remember reaching out to others—
on a day of needing to feel connected—
needing to feel grounded in relationships.

We remember the details gradually coming out
and being appalled at the level of hatred,
the willingness to embrace (and be embraced by) such violence,
the total lack of concern for civilians in the routines of their days,
the utter disregard of a basic respect for human dignity and human rights.

We remember priorities reassessed—
lifestyles and vocations—
a greater desire for meaningfulness and a sense of fulfillment.
We remember people wanting to find God.

We look back on a day perversely exploited
by those who use ends to justify means,
and we remember it coming to be a day of deep fear and profound anger.

We remember this day, ten years ago today, 9-11,
as one of our definitive stories as a country and a people—
part of our legacy and part of our identity.
It was a day on which we were confronted with evil—
and confronted by evil with the question:
which story will you now continue to live out?
A question still vital—because no one knows what all it has and still does cost us.

We remember this day
in remembrance of whom?
in rejection of what?
in commitment to and in hope of what?

For that is, in truth, our most honest prayer.

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