Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Reflecting 9/11


I found this article in last week's Catholic Leader. It's moving and instructive.

The author is Fr John Chalmers.

Some extracts -  

Perhaps 1000 people were on the Memorial Plaza that day. Yet I detected a sense of awe, not dissimilar to the "something more" that Moses encountered at the burning bush. So awe-filled was his experience that day that Moses' only possible response was to take off his shoes. He was standing on Holy Ground. Ironically, in the name of security-screening, every visitor to the Memorial Plaza takes their shoes off and steps through an X-ray machine. In retrospect, how profound ... shoes are removed to ready the visitor for the sacred encounter, not so much at the burning bush but at our memories of the burning towers. Ground Zero is holy ground because of those people who lost their lives. It is holy ground for those people who miraculously survived thanks to revamped evacuation procedures after the 1993 bombing. The heroic efforts of firefighters, police and emergency services also make it holy ground. I like to think as well that the dedicated workers who occupied the World Trade Towers for over 30 years had also made it holy ground. It's equally a matter of awe, or rather of the awefulness we encounter in life, that buildings which took 10 years to construct, took less than 10 seconds to crumble on that fateful day. Is it mere coincidence or is it that "something more", "saving grace" that standing unobtrusively amid the rows of swamp white oaks, just back from the South Pool, is Ground Zero's burning bush, better known as "the Survivor Tree". "Planted on the original World Trade Centre site in the 1970s, on 9/11 it was reduced to an eight-foot stump in the wreckage at Ground Zero. Nursed back to health in a New York City park, the tree was uprooted by severe storms in March 2010. But it survived and it stands, supported by temporary guide wires as it takes root on Memorial Plaza."

And -  

My first impression as I stood beside or rather above the Memorial fountains, 21m (70 feet) below was "enormity", yes the enormous size of the two fountains, but equally the enormous loss of life on 9/11, the enormous evil we human beings can perpetrate on our fellow human beings, and the enormous capacity of human beings to reawaken the Spirit, so that respect for life is reaffirmed, respect for freedom is preserved and people are inspired to end hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

Powerful stuff.

The whole piece is here.

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