In some respects, it is fair to say that our innocence was destroyed on 9/11, as surely as were the twin towers on lower Manhattan. I pray that we will never forget those attacks or the thousands of innocent people who lost their lives because of that horrendous act.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt called another tragic and pivotal event in American history — the Pearl Harbor attacks — “a date that will live in infamy.” I could certainly make the argument that 9/11 is a date that has even more infamy. It is impossible to describe how our nation has changed after 9/11. Though America survived and freedom still reigns, everything is different.
The attack images are indelibly imprinted on our memories, and it is fitting today to relive that horror:
The terrorist strikes created an inferno of the World Trade Center Towers. They collapsed, raining terror onto the thousands of people who live and work in that area. The disintegration of those buildings brought blind chaos to New York and destroyed the innocence of all America.
As we move on, we have to learn from the horror and evil of that day.
How, then, do we live –– with daily terror alerts as a reminder that evil still lurks?
There is a relevant passage from the Old Testament book of Haggai. Haggai 1:2-6 describes God speaking to the people about rebuilding the temple. He tells them that it is time! I believe that Haggai has a contemporary message for us on this day.
If Haggai were here today, I believe that he would warn that our Judeo-Christian values, beliefs and priorities are under attack from many different directions. He would tell us to build an impermeable boundary around those values and he would say that our foundation had better be very solid and strong enough to withstand attack. Otherwise, forces of destruction will penetrate through our walls of protection and destroy everything that we hold dear.
I did not know until I visited Ground Zero that deep in the pit there is a “slurry wall” –– a gigantic bathtub-like structure that is more than 3 thousand feet around. This bathtub, though, wasn’t designed to hold water in; this structure was designed to keep water out.
Specifically, it was designed to keep the Hudson River out.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center were constructed on the lower end of Manhattan Island where the Hudson River forms the border on the West side. That location poses some almost insurmountable problems. The mean rate of tidal flow (incoming from the ocean twice a day) at Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan is 425,000 cubic feet per second. That much water weighs over 25.5 million pounds! The incoming tide raises the water level around five feet.