Friday, September 2, 2011

September 11, 2001 - A Survivor's Faith

September 11, 2001.

Has it been 10 years?

Remember those images?

And many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news of these terrorist attacks on American soil. That day in 2001 was as shocking to us baby boomers as when some of us had heard that President Kennedy had been shot in 1963. Or that morning when the space shuttle Challenger had exploded in 1985.

That day - September 11, 2001 - and following ...

American flags went up everywhere in my neighborhood.  One of the most famous images - Raising of the Flag at Ground Zero - appeared in all types of media. Politics as usual took a holiday as Democrats and Republicans seemed united for a change. The scheduled blood drive in my area for September 13 was so flush of volunteers that the attendants had to turn people away. We - the people - were all pulling together to get through this.

Prayer services ...

Back in 2001 ...
Houses of worship filled up in the following days. In New York City at citywide prayer service at Yankee Stadium on September 23, 2001, Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered the following message: Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani, 107th Mayor. (For the full service, check out - New York City Prayer Service - C-SPAN Video Library.)
Tributes and prayers were offered around the world: World reaction to 9/11  In London, England, the Archbishop of Canterbury at St. Paul's Cathedral held a memorial service, attended by the Royal Family: Battle Hymn of the Republic - London 2001

And now in 2011 ...

On this 10th anniversary, there will be many prayer services throughout the country - such as this one at the Washington National Cathedral: A Call for Compassion. One church in New York City, planted two blocks from Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 attacks, will participate in a live webcast with the Saddleback Church on the West Coast: Rick Warren: 9/11 National Prayer Day Planned 2 Blocks From Ground Zero

Yet, no clergy or formal prayers will be allowed at Ground Zero ...

As of date of this post, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not allow any clergy to offer formal prayers at the 10th anniversary of September 11. The mayor's spokesperson gave the rationale that the focus will be on the families of the thousands who have died.

Many have expressed dismay at such a decision as in this CNN article: 9/11 Ceremony won't include clergy or formal prayers. Though many have blogged about it and expressed their outrage, none of us can see the mayor's heart and discern his inner motives.  Yet, the fiat's of a mayor cannot suppress the expression of faith, especially those who have survived this attack.

Grace abounded and still abounds at Ground Zero

Here is a story of one of the survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center - the Dawn Robinson Story. It is one of faith and prayer and triumph.

Through the Eyes of a Survivor:

Part 1

Part 2

Dawn Robinson's story demonstrates how the urgency of immediate deadlines can quickly become irrelevant when suddenly faced with eternity.

We all are only here a short time, even if we live a natural life and die from old age.  Even Moses, who lived well over 100 years, thought so.  After wandering 40 years in the wilderness, seeing his generation pass away, Moses reflected on his experience with this perspective of human mortality:

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalm 90 (King James Version)

This Septemeber 11th -

May we never forget.

May we keep the faith.

Related posts:

from 2010: Dancing on Top of the World Trade Center

from 2009: One Tuesday in September, eight years ago ...

Photo from Wiki-Commons: National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire


  1. Compelling testimony.

    Interesting that on 911, prayers were more than welcomed. Yet on the tenth anniversary, they are banned.

  2. Interesting, Jan. Mayor Giuliani welcomed a city wide prayer. Yet, the daughter church of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church - 2 blocks from Ground Zero - will be participating in a National Day of Prayer at that time. May the Good Lord turn this for good.