As I’ve done every year on September 11th for the past 13 years, I recognize that terrible day that now seems both far in the distance and strangely recent. Like many people (such as the young Alexii Lardis of Huffington Post), I remember exactly where I was at the time of the attacks. I was living in Little Rock, Arkansas, and my car accident (and coma) had happened five months earlier. I had been discharged from the hospital just a few weeks before, so I was patching my life back together. (So I do consider myself blessed to be able to remember that day, since so much of that time was lost in my recovering brain trauma.) I was doing a gradual return to work at that point: I think I was going in three days a week (MWF) and was home the other two. Thus I was trying to be quiet home on the day of the attacks. I got a call from a friend who told me to turn on the TV: every station was filled with the news, and I desperately tried to wrap my still-tender thought processes around what had happened. Although none of my friends died that day, I knew a lot of worried people who were waiting for news of loved ones.
Much has happened since then: war and violence, terror and fear. As one who leans on the side of pacifism (though I don’t think I’m a very good pacifist), I’ve been critical of many of the responses to that day: the “eye for an eye” and life for a life that many have demanded as retribution for those attacks. The attacks may have been 13 years ago, but the aftermath still stings today. The War on Terror lingers; anger and xenophobia toward those who are “not like us” is rampant. Our trust of our leaders is still tender. I’m not sure how our generation is going to fare through this time that so many issues are coming to a head: but at the same time, I don’t think it’s my job to worry about it. My faith only demands that I respond to such offences in as gentle and loving a manner as I can. It guarantees nothing about the results. I know only that I need to be consistent in my response to others: their actions toward me are their responsibility by their own faith.
The site of the attack in New York has been replaced by a memorial. We can choose to remember such events and create beauty in spite of the suffering.