Reflections on Sept. 11
For those of us old enough to remember – Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001, were somewhat similar but decidedly different.
It was more than just a 60-year difference. It was a difference in attitude and approach. In 1941, the nation banded together and fought a known aggressor. In ’01, we did not seem to band together except out of a fear of flying. Following 1941, we joined in every way possible to save all sorts of things that would be useful in the effort to push back Imperialism and Nazism. Following ’01, we joined together to see who might have something on their person that could be used to bring down an aircraft we might be flying on. Fear seemed to saturate our society rather than a firm resolve to find a rational solution to what was happening.
As a matter of fact it was two phone calls from Germany that morning of Sept. 11, that told us to turn on our TV set. The following Saturday, Sue and I were among the first to fly out of Phoenix on our way to Omaha to participate in the installation of one of my former associates as pastor of the Grand Island, Neb., church on Sunday. Six people were on that plane to Omaha, and on the return flight the next Monday, there were six more returning from Chicago through Omaha to Phoenix. There was a decided difference between the two events 60 years apart. Fear, not resoluteness of spirit, seemed to prevail. There was, indeed, a definite difference in our public spirit.
So I’ll be curious what it is we will discover about ourselves when we mark the decade that has passed since 9/11. Are we richer or poorer as a nation of people? Have we a firmer handle on what is important in life than we did before? Do we believe that our American way of dealing with issues will survive intact? Are our principles still the guiding force for our collective way of life? Is there a strong uniting spirit binding us together as a people knowing we can deal with whatever circumstance we need to confront? Has 9/11 put on display the kind of people we believe we want to display to the world?
The entry is one in a series of reflections for prayer, meditation, and thinking in preparation for a special Gathering for Reflection, Discussion and Prayer in response to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (and all that has come after that date) on Sept. 7. This event will be led by the pastors and held in the Pinnacle Chapel at 7 p.m. on that Wednesday. We hope that you will join us on Sept. 7.