I sit here in the shadow of 9-11, that fateful day when the earth shook and the heavens cried. Fifteen years later and the memory lives on within us. 2977 were killed, but we are all victims. Our world was changed forever, and our nation has been at war ever since. Nearly 7,000 troops have died in this ongoing war and over half a million civilians, more innocents to go with those who have gone before.
In losing a loved one, I often advise that we never get over the loss, we only get used to it. The place once filled in love remains ever empty afterward and only the loss remains. This seems to be true of 9-11 as well. Previous generations measured their history by where they were when President Kennedy was shot or when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Today’s generation’s history is measured by the long dark shadow of 9-11. The world I once knew no longer exists; the world that has replaced it is darker, colder, harsher.
I don’t mean to question here the wisdom of the war in its original initiation or its ongoing direction. Others can do that elsewhere. I only mean to mourn the never ending struggle, the enduring violence, the graves whose hunger for life cannot be sated.
We can mourn our inhumanity, our fear or judgment or hatred of those who are different, our seeking uniformity rather than understanding. We can question why so much evil is done in the supposed name of righteousness, why religion is such an easy pawn for extremism. Maybe someday we can try to find a way for us all to live together in peace and equality, but this is not that day.
Martin Luther King Jr. advised of the injustices of his day, saying “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” A victim of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict confessed “There will be no peace until we realize we love our children more than we hate our neighbors.”
We are all neighbors on this shrinking blue marble, and we’ve got to find a way for us all to live together. I’ve said a good place for us to begin is for people of faith to agree not to kill each other.
So in this article I am not selling one of my books or hyping another publication. I am rather expressing our common despair at the ongoing “divine” devastation and saying a quiet little prayer, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!” Amen.