I remember where I was when I first learned of a plane hitting the north tower of the World Trade Center. It is a day I will never forget. For most Americans – if not the entire world – the events of Sept.11, 2001 are seared into our collective consciousness as the date of one of history’s greatest infamies. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the heinous terrorist acts resulting in the destruction of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the murder of thousands of innocent people and a changed world.
Like me, when we hear the term “9/11” most of can remember where we were when we heard the news. We all recall the shock and horror of those previously unimaginable images from New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We can still see the frantic faces of the first responders selflessly and heroically rushing toward the disaster and the crowds of people running from harm’s way. We still honor all those innocent souls that were lost, including those on the hijacked airliners as we recall hero Todd Beamer’s courageous last words, “Let’s roll” as a call to defend the freedoms we enjoy in our nation. We will never forget the staggering loss of life, the senselessness of it all and the gut-wrenching realization that evil does exist in our world. Sept. 11, 2001 was a horrible event, but it solidified our resolve to find a way to peace. It was a national crisis that brought us together as a nation.
This year, as we remember what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, we feel compelled to come together again as a nation. We come together on bended knee in prayer for the people who lost their lives, for families who continue to mourn, for all those who in any way were traumatized by what we witnessed, and we pray for a change of heart among those who seek to harm us. We pray that we can reclaim the unity of purpose after the terrible events of 20 years ago. As we commemorate this solemn anniversary, may we never forget what happened on our country’s soil and may we use this occasion as a moment of solidarity, strengthening our resolve to unite as Americans dedicated to working for justice, peace and the common good that allows us to find our salvation in Christ.
Together, let us pray that the Eternal One dispel the darkness of evil in our land and grant us his peace. May the God of all goodness and mercy provide us with light where there is darkness, love where there is hate, kindness where there is contempt, and may he unite us in the bonds of peace, now and forever. Amen.
CNS file photo by Anthony Correia/Reuters