Recalling Sept. 11, 2001 - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Recalling Sept. 11, 2001

September 11, 2001.

It seems hardly possible to me that five years have passed since that tragic day when terrorist hijackers flew two passenger jets into the Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Center. More than 2,000 lives were lost as a result of that action. Countless thousands of others will forever bear the pain of the loss of loved ones. All of us have been affected in less painful but real ways.

Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news on that fateful 9/11. Events like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the destruction of the World Trade Center burrow deep in our psyches.

I remember that I was driving to the office and heard the news on the car radio. In the middle of a left-hand turn from Dewey Avenue onto Ridgeway Avenue, I heard the first notice that something bad had happened in New York City.

The announcer reported that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. I remember having the strong impression that a light plane had hit the building. I was sad to hear the news because, although I hoped and prayed otherwise, I was sure that some people must have died. And, I wondered what might have been the cause of the accident. Equipment failure? Pilot error? Illness? Suicide?

A short time later came the news that another plane had crashed into the second tower. Then we began to realize that the destruction would be deep and wide. And, we knew that this devastation was the fruit of design and destructive intent — not of illness or accident.

Five years from the date people all over the world will be remembering the tragedy of 9/11/01. We will be praying for all who lost their lives — both those who worked in the Twin Towers or were passing through when the buildings were struck, and those rescue workers who gave their lives in the line of duty. We will be praying as well for the surviving loved ones of all of them. Their pain is deep and lasting.

Even as we pray for the deceased and our survivors, I know that all of us in one way or another will find ourselves drawn to prayer around the larger themes symbolized by 9/11. Why do some choose violence rather than peaceful means to deal with human problems? How best should we deal with the seemingly intractable problems that plague the human family? How do we maintain security without insult to human dignity or the denial of God-given rights?

You will have your own questions and concerns as we remember the events of 9/11. I hope that you will bring them to prayer. I do encourage you to join the community at prayer that day if that is possible for you. We all know that 9/11 deeply affected us not only as individuals, but also as a community. I think that it is most appropriate that we come together as a community to pray for the deceased and to ask the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit as we seek to move from turmoil and violence to justice and peace.

I shall be presiding at a Eucharistic Liturgy at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 8:46 a.m. on 9/11. We chose the time because it is the precise moment the first hijacked jet crashed into the World Trade Center. I invite you, if your schedule allows, to join us.

Peace to all.

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