Below is an excerpt from my collection, Sermons In War, wherein I reflected on that day we call 9/11. Today, let us remember the perished and their families and their friends and the country left behind. We are not united seventeen years after that catastrophic day. We have given into the rhetoric of fear and hatred. As the bells ring out this morning, may they alert us to the power resident within us to make this a land of hope and promise, justice and peace.
“Remembrance is a remarkable gift. Without it, we are imprisoned in a terrifying island of the present, unmoored, bobbing adrift in the sea of time and the chaos of events. When we remember, we sink an anchor into the depths and stabilize our lives for a moment. If we are fortunate, we are permitted to remember within a harbor of peace such as a sanctuary. Taking deep breaths, pondering the heart beat beneath the breastbone of our collective life, we just might stop long enough to remember an event that begs to be remembered if for no other reason than people lost their lives in the conflagration. We want to remember them. We will not forget them or where we were.
“I was standing in the driveway of our home, speaking with a neighbor, puzzled about why the twin towers in New York had had jetliners crashed into them. How could this be? And then suddenly, someone –his wife? another neighbor?—told us that the Pentagon had been hit by a plane. This was the moment of recognition for me. I knew then we were under attack and that these tragic events were not an accident. I wrestled with whether or not to pick my children up from school. I decided to do so, believing that if anything worse were to take place then I wanted to be with them… We walked home along the bike path in Bluemont Park. I walked just a step or two ahead of them. The sky was still blue. I told them I was bringing them home. I told them our nation had been attacked. I could say no more at that moment. I walked with my children and cried.” [Afterword, Sermons in War]