It’s been 21 years since that terrible Tuesday when the clear blue skies exploded, and white smoke obliterated the sun. In those 21 years, much has changed. Indeed, the entire school age population has been born since it happened, meaning that none of them were here that day. They have all learned about it from others, but what have they learned?
For starters, I suppose that they have learned the facts about how, early in the morning on September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists hijacked 4 commercial airplanes mid-flight in a coordinated attack, crashing one into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, one into the South Tower, and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed into a field in southwestern Pennsylvania after the passengers of the plane organized an assault on the hijackers. 2996 people died that day as a result of those terrorist attacks directed by al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, and more have died since of health complications suffered that day.
But beyond the facts on what happened, what have they learned. Perhaps they have learned about the depths of hate, for it was hate that launched those attacks that day. Or perhaps they have learned fear, because in a world where hate runs so deeply, there is reason to be afraid. But I hope that our children who have been born in these past 21 years have also learned about the power of love. That day, we watched as firefighters and first responders rushed to help others even at the risk of their own lives. And in the days following, those of us who lived through those days can attest to the ways that communities came together all around the world, overcoming, for a time, the things that divide us: race and religion—even politics.
“Teach your children well,” Graham Nash wrote over 50 years ago, “and feed them on your dreams.” Amen.
–Pastor Don Steele