I have very mixed emotions about the commemoration of 9/11. Some would say I am a person that likes to leave the past behind. I do however, realize that this is an occasion that has changed the world forever and has even changed me. So commemorate, ten years later, we must.
I remember very clearly where I was and what I was doing the moment I first heard of the events of the day. I was sitting in my decorated in pink (not by me) bedroom of the parsonage at St. John's Lutheran Church in the Bronx. I was reviewing the guest list of an event that was supposed to take place on September 21. I was watching, as I still do when I have time, Good Morning America. At first I thought it was a prank or some fancy camera illusion. I soon found out it was real -- happening right there as I watched.
Before the hour was up, my phone began ringing first my son, then members of the congregation. One member's very young child had gotten on a bus to go to school in downtown Manhattan; another member called to say a cousin worked, if not in the towers very close by. Still others called to ask could we, should we pray. In all our helplessness that is what we did-- pray.
That night on the concrete steps of the church that was built in the early 1800's we prayed and those who walked by joined in. A firefighter from the neighborhood walked by and said, "thank you." He told us that in this most awful tragedy the people of New York City had pulled together to help each other.
I thank God, that the tragedy of 9/11 bought out the best in people. I mourn with all those who lost loved ones. And I continue to pray, never again!