Today is the eighth anniversary of the bombing and destruction of the World Trade Center, a day on which many of us lost loved ones. Those of us who were living in New York at the time still remember what it looked like (smoke plumes for days, white ash on the firetrucks and streets, signs and posters everywhere asking if anyone had seen missing loved ones) and what it felt like (shock, fear, horror). And we still remember burying the empty coffins of our relatives and friends whose remains have never been identified. (RIP, Uncle Mike…Clarin…John…Chris…).
We should remember. All of us should remember. Because this is the cost of of hatred. This is the cost of not finding ways to resolve our conflicts with each other. This is the cost of not loving enough.
We will not stop attacks like the WTC bombings by spending more for defense and building greater security systems and we won’t stop them by finding and torturing those we label terrorists. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Thus, he explained, we “must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
I don’t have any easy suggestions for implementing King’s vision – the vision of Christ, who told us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. But I do believe that unless we can change people’s hearts, unless we find ways to help transform the violence within, we will not have peace in our world.
On this anniversary of the WTC bombings, we pray for peace in our hearts and in our world.