Remembering 9/11

911-memorialIn hearts and minds of many of us in this country, our history can be divided into two distinct eras – life before September 11, 2001, and life after September 11, 2001.

I am fairly certain that all of us remember exactly where we were on that sunny Tuesday morning 13 years ago. I was in my room at the Cathedral rectory watching the news report of a plane that flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center. I remember watching in horror as the second plane appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower. In less than an hour another plane slammed into the west side of the Pentagon. America was under attack.

The final plane would crash into a rural field in western Pennsylvania – Shanksville.

The noontime Mass at the Cathedral was packed.  Within a very short time downtown Cleveland was a ghost town. By mid-afternoon there was an eerie silence in the streets.

After September 11, 2001, we discovered how vulnerable we are. We encountered adversaries who so hated us and what our country stands for that they would destroy themselves to destroy us. We experienced, for the first time since the Civil War, the horror and bloodshed of war on our own shores.

Over 3,000 people were killed – including more than 400 police officers and firefighters. Almost 10,000 others were treated for injuries – many severe.

And yet, in the midst of this horror and heartache, as the Gospel for this past Sunday reminded us, Christ was and continues to be present. On that September 11th we might have been too overwhelmed, too angry, too scared to see him. But Christ was and continues to be in our midst.

Christ was in our midst in the heroism of police officers and firefighters, in the dedication of emergency and medical personnel risking – and sacrificing – their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Christ continues to be in our midst in the heroism of police officers, firefighters and first responders in the cities where we life – Parma Heights, Brook Park, Parma, and your own city. In the men and women of the armed services who give of themselves to protect the freedom we enjoy as a nation.

As we anticipate tomorrow’s anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I believe that it would be appropriate for all of us to plan to spend some time tomorrow in deep prayer for all firefighters, police officers and emergency technicians who serve us – and to remember those who have died in the past year. Pray for the eternal repose of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 – and the continued consolation of their families and all impacted by what happened on that day.  Pray for peace – especially in the many troubled areas throughout the world.  Pray too for peace in the hearts of men and women everywhere!

Question – How will you take the time to remember 9/11 tomorrow?  Are you willing to share it with us?


Here is the prayer that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prayed at Ground Zero Memorial on April 20, 2008.

September 10th, 2014 |