Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Was it really 7 years ago that our lives were so drastically changed? I remember the day well - I was up in Silver Spring, MD, with my chosen brother and his wife. She worked for the US government, but had not gone into work. The effects of her cancer and attempted cure kept her away that day (sadly, the cancer could not be beaten). I was in one room checking email while she was in the other, watching the news, and my brother was getting dressed. When she exclaimed that a plane had flown into one of the Trade towers, I thought it was a little private plane, and could not understand how someone could miss them. But, no - not even close. We watched - horrified - as they showed this huge jet fly into the Tower. We were in shock, still trying to digest what we had seen, and then the second one hit. I had friends from seminary who worked in that area. A colleague and I tried frantically to get news (and were relieved to find out she was fine).

And then the Pentagon was hit. My partner's parents lived near there, and could feel the ground move from the impact. My partner's father, a retired Army general who had worked in the Pentagon, lost a long-time, valued staff member that day...

Sadly, she was not the only one. By the time the counts were done, we lost over 2,000 souls that day, at the Trade Towers in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.

One of the heroes in Pennsylvania that fateful day was named Mark Bingham. You may not have heard of him, but he was one of the four who helped to bring down the plane in the field. Others have had their stories told. His should be, too. Melissa Etheridge did just that in this video:

In recognition of this anniversary, and for all those who were lost, all those who were made heroes that day, I leave you with this prayer by The Rev. A. Powell Davies, a Unitarian minister who served the Washington, D.C. area years ago (I have adapted it slightly:

The love we can no longer give to our beloved, may we give it to those who need it. May our compassion be deeper, our sympathy wider, Let our sorrow melt away our bitterness and teach us to be gentle. May we be saved from frozen-ness of heart. If so much that is precious can so soon be lost, let us cherish what remains; and let us be the nurture of things precious in the lives of others.

Whatever we have known and loved is ours while life shall last. May we see that what we love becomes a part of us, is interfused with our lives, blended with mind and memory and joined to our souls. May we resolve that the good we knew in those who have gone from us shall live in us and be passed on from one generation to another.

When we do not know and cannot see, may we put our trust in things we cannot see. Even in this life, all about us and within us, there is mystery. Yet the mystery shines, and in its light we see the beautiful and (the) good. May we have faith that it is not otherwise beyond the limit of our sight: that beauty endures, that goodness (and love) reign...


Mary Ellen said...

A beautiful prayer for such a sad and solemn anniversary.

I was busy trying to get my grandson ready to drop off at pre-school that morning. He was stalling around because my son who was in Jr.High at the time took a sick day due to a fever and cold. I happened to see it on Fox News right after it hit. I switched to other channels to see if they were covering it but they hadn't picked up the story yet. Then before I knew it, the second plane hit.

I wasn't sure what to do, should I keep my grandson home? How many more places would be hit..Chicago? I called my daughter who was already at her teaching job and she said to go ahead and send him to school (I still wasn't happy about that) but she was right, it was important for him to keep with a schedule so he wasn't frightened.

My other kids were in school, and I was so grateful my son was home that day. We both needed each other to get through the fear and heartache we were experiencing.

I didn't know anyone who lost their lives that day. One of the pre-school secretaries was sobbing because her son worked at the WTC---the first building hit. By the time I picked up my son, I heard that she did get ahold of him, he happened to take a vacation day on that day. The secretary was relieved, but still couldn't stop crying....I could understand why.

I pray it never happens again, but I'm not confident it won't. Living so close to the City of Chicago, worries me sometimes. In fact, when my son told me he was going to go to UIC (University Illinois Chicago), I thought of the possibility that we may have an attack someday when he's there. He changed his mind and went to Illinois State University which is very far south of Illinois and very far from the city (in the cornfields). I took a bit of comfort when I heard that.

I wonder if we'll ever get over this feeling of dread? Sure, we can forget 9/11 from moment to moment...but never altogether. There's always a remnant tucked away in our brain and that ache in our hearts never quite goes away.

Prayers to all those who lost loved ones, either during the attacks or the months or years later.

PS: I'm sorry about the loss of your friend to cancer. If I ever wished for anything, it would be a cure for cancer.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Mary Ellen -

What a story. Thank you for that. I can imagine that living so near a major city - and really, it is THE major city in the Midwest, isn't it - that you would be concerned abt the potential of an attack. Thank heavens that, in that time, you and your son had each other.

So many stories of people who, for one reason or another, were spared...And then, those who were not...You're quite right - we may let the memory fade from our day to day lives, but we know it is always a possibility. ANd honestly, this is something with which people in many other countries live daily - it is a fact of their lives, and now it is a fact of ours...

Thank you - it was painful - as you well know -to watch my beloved friend, who was really like a sister to me - lose her battle. She was a goddess - an amazing woman, and I am the better for having known her...

Diamond Tiger said...

You two are making me cry all over again. What a squishy day it has been. Those two towers are the main reason I moved here to the islands and the reason I don't travel to the mainland. Really don't like the idea of being trapped on the mainland with bad stuff going down and didn't like being in the Seattle area with all the nuclear and military targets.

Someday, I would love to meet both of you! Thanks for brightening an otherwise tough day. :)

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, DT!

I'd love to meet both you and ME, too! I think it would be AWESOME!

And I hear you abt the mainland vs. the islands...It was a hard day yesterday - I watched the entire ceremony unveiling the Pentagon memorial - and we rarely hear abt the Pentagon. It was powerful (and yes, I muted Bush - I can only go so far, you know!). Tough day...