But then I went to Old Bridge Township's memorial service, and it got my creative juices flowing. So here's some random spewing:
Yes, pray today for the almost 3,000 who died. Pray for the repose of their souls. Pray for their families who still miss them.
But remember some other aspects of what happened on September 11, 2001:
- Remember what could have been: The number of employees in the World Trade Center when the planes hit was far higher than the actual number of fatalities. Trying their best, terrorists were only able to kill a portion of what they intended.
- Remember that the terrorists planned their evil deeds for months ahead of time. With no time to prepare themselves for what would happen that day, people in the Trade Center and Pentagon who faced a life threatening situation deliberately chose to help others escape, rather than only think of themselves and run. How about the Police, Firefighters and EMTs who did the unthinkable and ran INTO the buildings? It took months for the terrorists to prepare to do evil; it took seconds for the heroes to decide to be heroic.
- Remember the generosity of shopkeepers in lower Manhattan, who opened their doors and allowed anyone to have their inventory. Shoe store owners told running ladies in their heels to grab whatever sneakers fit them, so they could run faster. How many stores gave out water and food? How many furniture shop owners gave recliner chairs and couches so the rescue teams had places to rest? Remember how blood banks announced that "they were full", and asked people no wait until the current supply of donated blood passed its shelf life to donate again.
- Remember who people flocked to their houses of worship. Remember how Confessions spiked. Remember how weekend Masses had the numbers usually reserved for Christmas Eve or Ash Wednesday night. If only for a moment, God was back in peoples' lives.
Many of the politicians I heard at the memorial this morning said that September 11 is a "sad" day. But I also think it was a day that showed us what we are capable of when we stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of our relationship with others (as well as our relationship with God). I suppose you can look at 9/11 as a "glass is either half-empty or half-full". I began the day in the "half empty" camp; I finished thinking "half-full".