“Pray for each other so that you may be healed.” —James 5:16 (NIV)
This week marked the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the twin tours of the World Trade Center in New York City, on the Pentagon, right here in our own community, and on the plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It has been 18 years since these attacks, and the anniversary reminds us once again that nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, including 400 who were police officers, firefighters, and first responders. The attacks were the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, and the most deadly foreign attack on United States soil since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The youngest person alive on Sept. 11, 2001, is now 18. A generation has come of age during a time of persistent war and conflict, economic upheaval, and societal change. How does this anniversary come to mean more for them than just a distant memory or historical fact? I hope that we take this moment every year at the anniversary of 9/11 to do more than contemplate the loss of life.
Let us remember the fierce resolve of those who were suddenly faced with ultimate decisions and responded by turning to help those near them, even in the face of death. Such grace.
Let us remember the clarity of those who in their final moments reached out to call their families to remind them of what matters most. Such love.
Let us remember those who ran in while others were running out. Such courage.
In 2002, at a service in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, said it well: “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
Words to remember and take to heart.