Monday, September 12, 2005
Remembering September 11th  

September 11 means different things to many Americans. One of the things that I would never expect it to mean to someone would be indifference. However, even not long after that fateful day four years ago, my wife and I spoke with people who expressed no concern about what had happened in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. One person with whom we spoke said that it did not matter to him because he did not know anyone who had died. The man who said that has been involved in Christian ministry throughout his life. Another man was in New York City that day and left the city when everyone else evacuated. However, the whole event seemed not to have left any lasting impression on him. Others with whom we spoke really had nothing to say about 9/11. It just did not seem to have an impact on their lives.

We were stunned by these reactions, many of them from people who call themselves Christians. We simply could not grasp how such an event could have so little impact on people. This was an absolutely incredible and tragic event. It was a massive, foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Even more to the point, men and women lost their lives in absolutely horrific ways. They had been trapped in buildings struck by airplanes. Others had jumped to their death from fiery floors high above the ground. Still others had been trapped on the planes used as missiles by the terrorists. What must they have been thinking moments before their death? Then there were those who died trying to save the lives of others. Firefighters, police workers, ordinary citizens died helping others. Death was all around in this event. Senseless death at the hands of evil men, and self-sacrificing death from men and women who gave their lives in order that someone else might live.

Therein, I think, lies the disconnect for many who are indifferent to the deaths of some of their fellow citizens. It is the reality of death. Death came to the United States on 9/11 in a way that many simply could not, or would not, face. It was sudden, it was immediate, and it was very difficult to understand. In the United States, we have not faced death this way. We have been immune to such terrorist attacks. And we are not very clear on what to do with death. Death is always over there in some other country. Now it was right here, right now. In addition, we have marginalized death. We have become desensitized to it. And we have no idea what it is about. As a result, we deal with it by disassociating ourselves from it.

One of the questions that is asked is where was God on September 11th? It is easy to answer that God was there in all of the people who did not die because of some "circumstance" that prevented them from facing death that day. It is also true that He was there with those who were facing death. That is the rub. God is the One Who gives us life and He is the One Who is there when we die. We do not want to think of God and death, except as God being the One Who will receive us after we die. Friends and family are there at death, but so too is God. He is not the author of death. However, He allows death. It is a mystery. There are no easy answers. However, because of God there is hope that death is not the end. As Mother Angelica once pointed out death is not the opposite of life. Death is a passage of life. It leads to another part of our life. By God's grace, it is a life with Him. Many people died on September 11, 2001. They should be remembered by those who knew them and those who may only know their names.

Posted by David at 2:30 PM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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