Sunday, September 10, 2023

It’s the day before the day our century changed.  Just as Franklin Roosevelt called the attack on Pearl Harbor a day that would live in infamy, so the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as the thwarted attack on Washington was such a day as well. Clearly years in the planning, the attacks were aimed at the iconic images of our American society: wealth and power.


Fortunately, in spite of some of the draconian aspects of Congressional responses and rounding up Muslim men who had overstayed authorized stays, the government did not lock up everyone who is Muslim as was done to the Japanese in the wake of Pearl Harbor, although there were clearly violations of civil liberties.


Looking back 22 years later, we still have messages such as are on the Parkway and Turnpike that only pop up the week before 9-11: “Suspect Terrorism?  Call …” Some of us still have a 1940s “Fortress America” mentality, hardly the way to address the issues we face today.  Moving on does not mean we forget; it means we face them and take on the underlying causes of hate.


Prayer for the Day


On this day, O Lord, the world seemed so calm to many of us,
   But we did not take into account seething anger and hate;
On this day, O God, we looked forward to an autumn as we always had,
   For we had shut our eyes to the world beyond our borders.
Make us cognizant, O Holy One, that this world cannot be neatly divided,
   And open our minds to an understanding of the world around.
In the name of the One who offers understanding,
   Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.


Thoughts for the Day


Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.

       - Barak Obama in a 2011 radio address


If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short, and there is no time for hate.
       - Sandy Dahl, wife of United Flight 93 Jason Dahl


My heart is firm, O God. Let me sing and make melody with my inward being.
   Awake, O lute and lyre; I would awaken the dawn.
Let me acclaim you among the peoples, sing praises to you among the nations,
   For your kindness is great among the heavens, and your truth among the skies.
Psalm 108: 1-4 (trans. Robert Alter).