Fifteen years ago this weekend, we watched in horror and fear, as the deadliest and most devastating attacks on our country unfolded. I was in my first month of college seminary and can remember the events of that day vividly. My innocence was shattered when during the transition from one class to another, a classmate burst into the classroom and gave the dreadful news of what was going on. We all scrambled to the television and watched as the first of the two towers crumbled to the ground. I imagine each of you have your own memories of how that day unfolded, with the feelings and emotions that accompanied.
Yet, despite the fear and uncertainty that pervaded the hours and ensuing days - there are other enduring memories. The images of first responders and ‘good samaritans’ who ran into burning buildings, the news of ordinary citizens joining together in an attempt to retake a plane and prevent further destruction and so many who provided care and support to wounded victims, survivors and families - it all left our nation with a sense of unity, togetherness and pride in the shared core values of a people being tested.
Unfortunately, in the years since we’ve seen these scenes and images of destruction by violence and the coming together of communities multiple times. We continue to confront the reality of a world deeply divided and torn apart by hatred and fear with the hope that we can overcome the discord with unity.