It is so hard to believe that fifteen years ago today, nearly 3,000 lives were lost. Each year on September 11, Americans remember an act of unthinkable violence and the lives lost in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Like many others I remember exactly where I was when it happened. I was at school and had a free period so like many others I was frantically trying to find out what was going on. On that day, New York City fire chaplain Mychal Judge, OFM, entered the World Trade Center to pray for and assist the first responders there. He was killed when the South Tower collapsed, and is designated Victim 0001 of the World Trade Center attacks. The loss and visual reality is forever embedded in my mind.
When Pope Francis visited New York City in September 2015, his message at Ground Zero was one of sorrow, but also of hope: "This place of death became a place of life, too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division."
On this day, we honor those loved ones who keep the memories of the fallen alive. We celebrate the heroes who sacrificed everything so that others might live. And we pray, as Pope Francis asked in his Ground Zero address, for: "Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE."
Pat Schifini, OSU