Tag Archive | "World Trade Center"

11 Past 911

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Eleven years after, I still remember that fateful morning as if it were yesterday.  Much like today, it was a sunny Tuesday morning in the Metropolitan New York area.  But, that particular morning, the sunshine belied what would become – along with December 7, 1941 – an infamous date on the American calendar.

 

Informed that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers, I tuned into the morning news just as a large jetliner made its kamikaze run into the other tower.  Awestruck, I heard the news just moments later of the attack on the Pentagon by yet another hijacked airliner and shortly thereafter of a plane crash in Pennsylvania, the cause of which was as yet unknown but would later be revealed as an act of heroism on the part of its passengers – preventing yet another prong of this carefully planned and orchestrated terrorist campaign against America.

 

I witnessed a President who appeared frightened and dazed and a Mayor whose career in public service reached, perhaps, its pinnacle in those tense hours and days following the attacks.  I observed the heroism of teams of police, firefighting, and emergency medical personnel, as well as the many first responders, ironworkers, and others who poured into the world’s greatest City in the days and weeks that would follow.

 

What I remember best about that day, however, was not the unmitigated evil of the foreign terrorists, but the love and unselfishness displayed by Americans of all walks of life, of every race, creed, and socioeconomic level.  It was a day when barriers were broken and lifetime bonds were forged, when each of us was given pause to shift our individual focus from ourselves to our neighbors, and when the resilience and generosity of the uniquely American spirit was on display for the world to witness.

 

As we commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and remember its victims from the World Trade Center towers, to the Pentagon, to the fields of Pennsylvania, let us also never forget our response, our unity of purpose, and our cooperation across political, social, and cultural divisions.  With God’s grace, we can muster the same levels of unity and cooperation in surmounting our future challenges, so that America – as it has for more than 200 years – will remain a beacon of hope to those from every land who seek freedom and opportunity.

 

Related Posts:

 

In the Name of God

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

 

Remembering 9/11

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

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It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  My memories of that fateful morning, as did the events themselves, have a surreal quality.  Informed that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers, I never imagined that it was a planned attack – thinking instead that it was some light plane that somehow veered off course and accidentally struck one of the towers.  Watching a cable news program on television immediately thereafter, I was dumbstruck as I witnessed a large airliner strike the other tower!  At that instant, I knew that the world and life as I had known it had changed inalterably.  The news of the subsequent attack on the Pentagon and heroic efforts of passengers and crew who sacrificed their own lives in deterring the nefarious purposes of the terrorists who had hijacked United Flight 93 only served to reinforce my conclusion.

 

Ten years later, I am sad to say that I was right – the world did change and not for the better.  America has lost lives and treasure as a result of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in attempts to root out terrorism.  And, the cost of those wars has made no small contribution to the sorry state of our economy and national debt.  Yet, the events of 9/11 brought a sense of unity to Americans that had been missing in our nation since the second World War.  Although that feeling may have waned during the last decade, anniversaries, like the one upcoming this Sunday, remind us that the values that we as Americans share far outweigh our differences.

 

Among the values we share is a deeply rooted love of liberty and equality.  Our forefathers came to this land to escape tyranny and embrace new opportunities.  Embodied in slogans like “manifest destiny,” the American experiment rooted in faith in our Creator became a beacon to the rest of the world.  But, borrowing from the Gospel of St. John, light came into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  And so, a relatively small band of those who hate that for which America stands attempted to strike at what they perceived to be the heart of America.

 

They failed, for one simple reason.  They did not understand the resilience of the American people.  And now, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, TIME in association with HBO presents Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience, a memorable video collection of dramatic testimonials from U.S. leaders, firefighters, flight attendants, veterans, family members, and, for the first time, survivors who miraculously escaped from above the impact zone of World Trade Center Tower Two.

 

This moving film focuses on the previously untold stories, captured in words and images, of a group of men and women who led America, moved the nation, and sacrificed for it, in the hours, days, and months that followed September 11, 2001.  Punctuated by archival photos and footage, the film’s real power derives from the expressions on the faces and raw emotions of those interviewed, speaking bluntly about their feelings and experiences, what they have lost, and what has sustained them during the decade since their lives were changed forever.

 

Fittingly, the documentary airs for the first time on Sunday, September 11th at 8:46 a.m. (ET) – ten years to the minute that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into World Trade Center One.  As part of a multimedia TIME initiative, the full film will also be available on September 11th on a variety of platforms, including HBO.com, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, YouTube, the HBO Facebook page, and TIME.com.

 

For those of you who vividly remember that day – as do I, as well as those whose memories may have faded, this documentary is one you will not want to miss.

 

May God grant peace to the souls of all the 9/11 victims, comfort to their bereaved loved ones, and wisdom and insight into His Will to us all.  Amen.

 

 

 

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In the Name of God

 

 

11 Past 911

 

 

Remembering 9/11

 

 

 

 

Remembering 9/11

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How time flies!  It was nine years ago that the most significant foreign attack on American soil occurred since the Revolutionary War, and with it came the sorrow, tears, anger, and ultimately fortitude of the American people.

 

As the second unprovoked attack on America in our nation’s history, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 is another day in American history that will live in infamy, much like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on some sixty years earlier.  The events of 9/11/2001 left Americans stunned and saddened.  In the days following, as Americans watched the story play out on their television screens, shock turned to resolve to avenge the loss of life and bring to justice those responsible for the cowardly attack.

 

By the very next day, September 12, 2001, there were not enough flags available to meet the demand of Americans wishing to express their patriotism and solidarity with the families of those who had lost loved ones as a result of the attacks.  Inadvertently, our enemies had awoken a sleeping giant and given a purpose to a President and a Presidency that had struggled to find its voice and message in the early months of its Administration.

 

Suddenly, America was at war with radical Islam whose purpose it was to intimidate America and its allies around the world.  Revered as martyrs and patriots, the 9/11 perpetrators were celebrated in the Muslim world.  Yet, the leaders of Al Qaeda and other radical groups soon discovered and realize to this day that a united America would be tireless in exacting its justifiable retribution.

 

It is said that “time heals all wounds,” and nine years later, many Americans do not feel the same emotion as we did on that fateful day.  Yet, with the images etched in our minds and hearts, we will never forget.

 

September 11, 2010 finds America debating a new dilemma:  the intention of the Church of Islam to build a large mosque and cultural center near ground zero. This has created a firestorm of protest by families and loved ones of victims and first responders lost in the holocaust of 9/11.

 

America is a country that prides itself on freedom of religion.  Yet, there comes a time when all Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, should heed and consider the true meaning of the words of President John F. Kennedy when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

 

Americans, for the most part, have no qualms about building mosques – or any other religious structures for that matter – on American soil.  Nor do they blame all followers of Islam for the heinous attacks.  Many do, however, consider the land near ground zero to be hallowed ground and do not wish construction of a structure that might be construed as a shrine to the perpetrators of the attacks.

 

If Islamic Americans and the Islamic world in general want to build a bridge of mutual respect with the rest of humanity, perhaps it should start here.  Then, we might all have hope of peace on earth to men of good will.

 

Related Posts:

 

In the Name of God

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

 

11 Paste 911

 

 

In the Name of God

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World Trade Center Attack

“I’ll see you later” is a phrase uttered millions of times daily throughout the United States.  Implicit in the phrase is a confidence that all is well and that the speaker will actually be able to fulfill the promise of “seeing,” at a later time, the individual to whom the phrase is spoken.

 

Eight years ago, on September 11, 2001, thousands of individuals working at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the passengers of United Flight 93 were unable to keep their promises because of the actions of a small, but coordinated group of deranged individuals.  I call them deranged, because they presumably believed that their actions were achieving the Will of God.

 

Recorded history is replete with acts of violence, murder, war, and oppression — all carried out in the name of the Almighty.  Often times, both sides in a conflict considered that “God was on their side.”  Attitudes like these beg the question, “Does God have a side?”

 

I recall that, on that fateful morning, as I viewed the television images of ashen survivors fleeing the site of the fallen towers and courageous public servants rushing toward them in a largely vain attempt to save the victims, I didn’t see Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, or Buddhists — I saw only people, frightened and bewildered.  And, although I do not presume to put myself in His (I use the pronoun His without reference to God’s gender) position, maybe that’s how God sees us.

 

While the memory of that day fades in the minds of many Americans who will give no or only passing thought to the significance of this date on the calendar, it burns vividly and continually in the hearts and minds of those who lost loved ones.  And so, it is only fitting that each of us offer a prayer on their behalf:

 

May our Creator give peace to the souls of all the 9/11 victims, comfort to their bereaved families, and wisdom and insight into His Will to us all.  Amen.

 

Related Posts:

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

 

11 Past 911

 

Remembering 9/11

 

 

 

 

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