I noticed this week while walking around New York more police officers than I usually see. I also saw military in uniform standing guard at Grand Central Station. There has been a heightened sense of the need for security this week, all leading to today.
I did not think about how I would feel flying home on 9/11. I, as I know so many of you, remember where I was, what I was doing and how I learned about that terrible, horrific day -- so many lives lost, and a city -- and a nation -- feeling more vulnerable than ever before.
I was picked up and taken to the airport, as usual. This time, the driver didn't go through the Lincoln Tunnel -- he made his way out of Manhattan through the Holland Tunnel. On the way, I looked over and had to snap this picture -- it is the World Trade Center 911 Memorial. http://www.911memorial.org. I couldn't believe we stopped here at a light! There were many police officers there as they were setting up for a special light show in commemoration of the tragedy tonight. I wasn't supposed to be driving by this site -- but here I was, staring out the window and praying. As I sat in the car, I could only imagine the emotion the families and friends of those who were lost are feeling this day. The loss never goes away -- it is always there as a part of them. My eyes welled up just being near the site, remembering that fateful day -- I was on my knees praying for them all on 9/11, and for the first responders -- many of whom lost their lives trying to save others. I still pray for them all.
I initially had a little fear about getting on an airplane today, but I'm not feeling that way now. I'm feeling hope-filled that, remembering, we will never forget. We will never forget that violence is never the answer. We will never forget that the power of love is greater than the power of hatred. We will never forget those who lost their lives. I began to pray again, as I did on that fateful day for the ones who committed these atrocities. I thought about all of the violence and atrocities happening throughout the world -- especially in the Middle East -- beheadings, murder, torture. I opened my prayer book in the car (on my iPhone) and said this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I also prayed that violence would end:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
May we, as we remember all those who lost their lives this day -- may we never forget them, never forget that our call is to love our enemies, and find ways to be peacemakers.
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Location:Newark International Airport