There are certain things that should only stir good memories, and one would expect that a brilliant blue sky would be one of those things. Except that during this time of year, as summer turns the corner to fall, the sky we enjoyed today reminds me of the tragedy we met a decade gone by.
It’s an unforgettable color. Friends of mine – residents of Manhattan back in 2001 – call the color ‘9/11 Blue.’
We were afraid for America on September 11, 2001. We didn’t know what it all meant, but we knew it had all changed.
On the one year anniversary, I was on staff at the Cincinnati Vineyard. I pressed for an anniversary observance. Some on staff questioned if anyone would come. I pressed harder. When the service started, we were standing room only throughout the main sanctuary. People wanted to mourn – to feel – as a group.
I’d designed a service featuring multiple speakers, each one processing their own thoughts on a specific stage of greif. Intentionally, I’d kept ‘anger’ for myself – probably because it was closest to my feelings at the moment. Externally, I spoke in controlled tones. Internally, I roared at the injustice of it all.
Ten years after the fact, I’m more concerned for our country than I was then. I’m concerned about what we celebrate and how we mourn. I’m concerned about what we value and what we cast aside. It feels like we stood strong against external attack only to suffer at our own hands.
These are the thoughts I have going into Saturday’s radio show, to be broadcast the day before the anniversary. Please pray that I find the words to address some of what I’m sensing.
Side note: TV is full of retrospective documentaries this week, but my choice of processing has been via Springsteen’s The Rising, written primarily with the events and people of 9/11 in mind. In ‘Empty Sky’ he writes of the pain felt by a husband who lost his wife.
I woke up this morning / I could barely breathe
Just an empty impression / In the bed where you used to be
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