by Fr Richard Heilman | September 12, 2021 4:48 AM
All of those feelings have come back from the horror of 9/11, as we watched the many heartbreaking memorial services being held today.
I am so glad that many are talking about 9/12. “We came together.” In an instant, we became united and strong.
But, we need to remember “where” we met.
Remember how all the churches filled up on 9/12?
Remember how all of the stores ran out of flags because we all wanted to wave them, and how moving it was at sporting events when it came time to stand, put our hand over our heart and sing, together, the “National Anthem”?
Remember how any differences of race, color or creed dissolved, as we were all simply “God loving” Americans?
Remember how selfless everyone instantly became, coming to each other’s aid as neighbor took care of neighbor?
Remember how we embraced as the greatest of heroes our military, police, fire fighters and first responders?
In his speech today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, urged us to stand united and courageous:
“They tried to divide us, but they tried ultimately in vain. They tried to terrify us. But, their murderous intent was never realized. Instead of sowing fear and division, we gathered together…and we came together as a nation with acts of heroism, unity and perseverance.”
Today, we find ourselves as divided as we may have ever been. It tears at my heart.
I am so willing to meet in those places of unity we once met before.
So, I say …
Stop mocking God, betraying God, excluding God, and characterizing people of God as a threat … and come home to our churches again.
Stop vilifying our country and our nation’s proud history and tearing down our national symbols and profaning our anthems … and stand and put your hand over your heart and sing with us again, united in our patriotism.
Stop inciting racial division and lighting our streets on fire with domestic terrorism … and unite with us once again as simply “God loving Americans.”
Stop destroying our economy in order to create a greater dependent poverty class to vote you into power … and unite with Americans who have always proudly held that there is dignity in work that breeds strong families and virtuous lives.
Stop humiliating our heroes and seeking their defunding; our heroes who put their lives on the line each day for our safety and security … and unite with us who revere their heroism that grants us our life, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness.
Friends, let us reflect on the words of Franciscan Father Joseph Bayne, Chief Chaplain of New York’s Eric County Emergency Services who was there that day: “I did not see the devil’s face at Ground Zero. I saw the face of God in the people working, caring, sweating, crying, rescuing, recovering and being very spiritual in their very humanness.”
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