Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

9/11: Remembering and Moving Forward

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

9/11: Remembering and Moving Forward

Article excerpt

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, my wife and I pondered whether it was right to honor an arrangement to go to New York in October to meet with friends. With the encouragement of New Yorkers wanting to see their city get back to normal, we decided to keep our plans.

We were pleased to be there, but things were far from normal. As we turned a corner on a sightseeing bus, tears welled up in the tour guide's eyes. "This is the location from where we would have first seen the Twin Towers," he said. In the distance, instead, there was - to quote Bruce Springsteen's song, "Cautious Man" - "nothing but road"! The wrenching emotion of seeing that physical gap was an example of what was "not normal" in what was being called "the new normal."

There was a more positive "not normal" interlude farther along the tour. The guide - a proudly Jewish New Yorker - pointed out a Muslim community center. Would he have done so a month before? I don't know. What definitely would not have happened earlier was the spontaneous, eloquent speech he gave. He explained that Muslims are New Yorkers, too, and that they are a vital and integral part of the city's cultural mix. He said the terrorists were exceptions and that we mustn't hold the events of 9/11 against Islam. My heart melted at his inclusive and impassioned words.

As Sept. 11 arrives this year, it's tempting to focus on the past. What about the present? Today, like all days, countless couples are celebrating wedding anniversaries. Some of those are silver, gold, or even platinum commemorations. Precious new babies are being born to glad parents. Today, like every day, billions of people, from different cultures around the globe will spend their day supporting others through work, family, and community, or as loving neighbors and friends. Today is a day of much love being expressed in a rich tapestry of diverse lives.

Is it "pie in the sky" to value that? I don't think so. To me, it's a kind of prayer. …

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