Monday, September 11, 2006
This is the photo that got to me. I’d been trying to work through what to write today, and this photo (credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) that just came up with the headlines persuaded me to write something. “A man grieves outside the World Trade Center site in New York September 11, 2006” the caption reads. And so many grieve with him. So many miss loved ones who were taken from them that day in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. So many wish we could travel back in time five years and a few days, even one day, and do something that would have kept 9-11 – and every awful thing that’s resulted from it – from ever happening. Five years later, and we all grieve. U.S. military families grieve for lost soldiers who’ve perished in Iraq and Afghanistan; Iraqi families grieve for the thousands of innocent men, women, and children who’ve died in their ongoing war. So many wish they could wake up and find it’s all been a very long bad dream and things are back to the normal we knew before September 11, 2001. And some realize trouble started brewing long before then, and wish we could go back even farther in time. After a memorial service for a Syracuse University student killed on Pan Am 103 in December 1988, I stood in his family’s kitchen and noticed a candle in the window and heard his mother say, simply, that the candle was there to guide her son home. Many will light candles tonight, and remember. Many will wish those candles could indeed light the way home for the ones they love and miss so terribly. This man and so many like him grieve today, and we all wish there was something we could do to make so much suffering somehow bearable. So we light our own candles, we hug our children, we pray for peace. And we promise, once again, to do things like this more often; we promise always to remember.