I suspect there is no one that needs a reminder that today is the ninth anniversary of the WTC bombing, in which so many people lost their lives and many others were shattered by the experience. I still mourn the death of an uncle and a friend who perished that day and I still avoid the Ground Zero area when I find myself in Manhattan, where I am right now. (I know that for many who lost loved ones that day, being at the site brings some solace and peace; it has never been thus for me.)
Last year, commenting on my memories of the day, I wrote:
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.
It is fitting that we approach this day with sadness and grief over our loved ones and all of those who suffered or died that day. But we can never allow hatred and retaliation to be any part of our response to events like this. Instead, the day must serve as a reminder for our need to fill our hearts with love and our world with peace.