The legacy of September 11

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The ashes of Sept. 11, 2001 has long ago wafted to earth, but today, we must pick them up, sift through them and remember

There will be a host of memorial services, retrospective essays and television specials that will ask that we consider everything that has changed both within and without our nation and ourselves. As we relive that horrible day, we'll all look for something to hold on to, to consider and keep.

What will that be?

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There is a vast amount of info about this date and it can almost overwhelm one thinking on it.

Should we focus on the uncertainty of life?

How fragile it is or how we truly have no ability to control our own destiny.

There is almost too much to think about. Do we reflect on the uncertainty of life, its fragility, our inability to control the actions of others?

Should we offer thanks to God for the moments of remarkable courage?

And of having the grace to move on towards the light out of the darkness?

Do we celebrate our fragile unity and humanity in the still fresh wake of our country's loss?

For too long, our nation lived under the idea that what happened in other parts of the world could not happen here.

We believed that because of our sole superpower status, that we were invincible.

Sadly, on that date three years ago, we learned that we are not.

The cowardly Muslim attack was a catastrophic reminder that our whole world is out of whack and always has been. As it says in the Book of Job, &uot;Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.&uot;

There are those who have questioned the existence of God on Sept. 11.


He was everywhere that day, disrupting the rolling tide of evil that roars over our planet.

He did have some help that.

People who appeared in smoke filled hallways to direct others to safety.

Passengers who decided their own fate by trying to take control a plane over Pennsylvania.

Their actions teach us grace.

Grace is where you find it. Other-worldly beings may or may not interfere in human affairs, but on the day of this tragedy and in the days that followed, there were people among us, many people, who did the work of angels. They were flawed but ready.

We have to remember the grace of Todd Beamer or Mark Bingham or the other heroes aboard Flight 93. The men and women of New York’s fire department who knew the dangers associated with their jobs. Sept. 11 presented them with more peril than most of us will ever encounter, but when the moment came, they were ready.

So yes, do remember the dead today.

But also remember the living.

Remember the families who still grieve for their loved ones.

Remember the armed forces fighting evil around the world.

Remember them all and wish them grace and courage.

Let it surround them on this sacred day.

These brave men and women, who grace and courage touched, shined ever more brighter.

For their grace and courage was purified by fire.