In Memoriam 9/11

9/11 MemorialWhere were you on 9/11?

Fifteen years ago I was in St. Paul, Minnesota helping my school cope with the most awful tragedies one could imagine. We had bumbled through the day trying to help children digest what none could understand.

On September 12th I addressed our community – all parents were invited to our morning assembly.

My talk was titled  “The Mourning After,” and I offer excerpts here as we remember that terrifying day.

“Good Morning. I am comforted to be back at school…and I hope that for you an evening with your parents was a good thing…

Like many of you, I didn’t want to believe what was happening yesterday—perhaps like you, those hijacked planes began to look like toys driven into the sides of our tall buildings, and perhaps like you, I am jolted by the sight of those twin towers which today look more like tall fences than tall buildings, and perhaps… the terror of yesterday will harden into anger…an anger that one day must yield to knowledge and understanding…

We will continue to pray for those in grief, for those in fear, and for those on the scene who are working to rescue survivors, to put out fires, to find bodies, and eventually, to clean up. I urge you to resist rage and to eschew hate; nothing good ever came from rage, and hate never leads to peace.

It is the beacon of justice, not the fire of hate that illuminates the way to peace.

I know we feel helpless, but we can do some things… and we can try to learn from this awful event… to learn why these tragedies happened, and to learn about our own reactions to things we cannot control or even understand. Please stay calm and read and talk.  Look for hope and pray for all who suffer.  Avoid hate, avoid speculation, and avoid jumping to seemingly easy conclusions. There will be no easy conclusion to these events.

One of my heroes is Mohandas Gandhi—I was reading him last night and want to read you one of his beliefs: “Non violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

I don’t think any of us (let alone Gandhi) could have predicted an airplane full of innocent travelers used as a weapon of destruction, but I’ll take comfort in knowing that Gandhi would have stood firm — non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.

Please work and pray for peace.”

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