A Prayer for the Anniversary of 9/11

VICAR

Dear Readers of Country Squire Magazine, I trust that You and Your families are well given the circumstances. I hope I find You relaxing this Sunday. For those of You at work I am sure You are having a good day.

This week I would like You to focus back to the 11th September 2001. Two days ago we remembered the dead on the nineteenth anniversary of 9/11 – of the four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda on America on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries, and substantial long-term health consequences, in addition to at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. 9/11 is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

I want You to remember the dead this weekend and especially those British military personnel who consequently lost their lives in Iraq and Afganistan. I also want to draw two lessons from that dreadful day nineteen years ago:

The first lesson is that absolutism is wrong and can be very dangerous. There should be no black and white – life is nuanced and grey. To be a zealot of belief is not attractive or desirable. Radical belief is not sensible. An approach to religion that results in mass murder neither reflects well on religion nor reflects the true lessons any of the great religions. We must learn to be empathetic while justly defending our own. We must acknowledge those of other faiths but not take solace in the fact that We are the only ones with the truth. The terrorists that day were so wrong yet absolutism led them to a belief that their dreadful behaviour was somehow justified. They represent nothing but evil.

The second lesson I want You to draw from the nineteenth anniversary is that life is short. Does it not seem like yesterday that We watched the attacks develop on our TV screens? I was stunned, frankly, that nineteen years had passed. So, draw from the memory of those attacks a timeline of Your life. What more have You to do? How do You see the next years being best spent? What would happen to You if Your life were summarily cut short by a terrorist attack?

I pray for You and Your families. I trust that You have a peaceful day and week to come. There is the promise of sunshine and an Indian summer. For those working out in the fields I wish You particular luck in this peculiar year. God Bless You all and be well.

O God, our hope and refuge,
in our distress we come quickly to you.
Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided,
replaced now with an emptiness,
a longing for an innocence lost.

We come remembering those who lost their lives
in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants
who demonstrated the greatest love of all
by laying down their lives for friends.
We commit their souls to your eternal care
and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.

We come remembering
and we come in hope,
not in ourselves, but in you.

As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken,
we are reminded of the illusion of security.

In commemorating this tragedy,
we give you thanks for your presence
in our time of need
and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
our guide and our guardian.

Amen.