I remember seeing those images on the television. And I was too young then to understand the magnitude of everything. But now I see the images of the towers burning and think...there were people in there. While the planes crashed into them. While they collapsed. People that, hours before, still saw entire lives ahead of them. Hours before, they were at home, preparing for just another day at work.
I think of the people in the airplanes and am overwhelmed with sorrow at how they met such an end. They boarded the planes never suspecting it would be the last thing they would ever do. I think of them trapped in there, knowing they will not make it back out alive. Thinking that they never got to say good-bye.
I think of the families who lost people they loved, families who were shattered, families that will never be the same again. They lost mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, friends. And I think of them watching those towers collapse. Seeing the people they love perish on a television screen, wishing they could have reached in and pulled them out.
I think of the courageous firefighters and other people who came to try and help. The ones who also fell.
Then I think of us. We who lived to see such a thing. We are left with a feeling of awe and sadness. Awe because these people are heroes. Sadness because they never should have met such an end in the first place.
That day should not be taken lightly. That day should not be forgotten. Not here, not anywhere in the world. We lost three thousand souls. Pause a moment, to let that number sink in.
Three thousand people who left home, expecting just another day of work. Expecting to come home to their families. But they never did.
Now, when I see those images on the television, I cry.
Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer at Ground Zero:
"God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all."