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Archive for September 12th, 2009

To mark the sad anniversary of September 11, 2001.

Eight years ago today, unspeakable evil found its way to the heart of our land.

Eight years ago, we were shaken by a communal loss so enormous that even now we speak of it with difficulty in hushed tones mingled with tears.

Eight years ago, we lost a stunning 2,993 lives to senseless hatred on a day that was so startlingly clear and beautiful that it defied all reason. On that day, we rose, we bathed, we ate breakfast, we packed up the kids for school, we kissed one another goodbye, we noted the cool fall air, we drove absentmindedly to work or rushed to catch up with what was demanded of us. We were greeted by a sky so blue our hearts could have broken. Little did we know that they soon would.

We all remember where we were when the planes hit, the horrific images so unreal that I personally only remember them in black and white, of fire and smoke, the plumes of deadly ash, people scattering in panic frantically trying to call loved ones on their cell phones, crying… the impossibility of the buildings falling and the reality of the implosion and crashes. We remember survivors stumbling from the blinding haze as though cast in Plaster of Paris, covered in soot and a smoldering hole in the ground marking the end of the beauty of flight.

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We remember the immediate response of the fire departments and policemen. We remember their strength and resolve in unprecedented confusion, and we remember the horror of our sudden loss of these first responders and the people they so valiantly tried to save…

We remember the aftermath of this murderous act as well… the twisted metal girders, the exhausted rescuers, the recordings of last phone calls to family, the photos, the flowers, and the handwritten notes fading on metal fences – finally blowing away with the onset of winter’s chill. If you have ever longed for someone, imagine the overwhelming emptiness that these acts created.

Again and again, as I have said so many times before, tragic loss at the hands of terrorists or in war is about the stabbing loss of families; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children and the extended family we so warmly invite into our lives, our friends. The enormity of the loss of this one day rippled across our county with the severity of an unbridled tidal wave and touched each one of us.

Not one of us could escape this harm. Not one of us was unscathed, because not only had we lost so many that we had loved, we had lost our sense of security and we had lost our innocence.

It was the saddest of days.

But as great as our loss has been, so have we been blessed, because this much loss bears compassion, strength, generosity and healing. We have been blessed with a renewed nationalism and appreciation for the great gifts we were born into as American Citizens. We proudly stand up for the innocent and the weak and we stand against injustice.

We are closer for our loss and we love more deeply.

In closing, I now ask that you share this time with me in silently honoring our fallen heroes and friends, and share in our appreciation for our own brave men and women, our soldiers, our police force and fire department, for the protection they so freely offer us in times of crisis.

If you remember, do so knowingly.
If you pray, do so now.
If you love, love now.

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