11 September 2010

9/11 - Frozen in time

Time goes by. People come and go. Old hurts dim, new ones shine their light in ones eyes. What we laugh or cry about today is different to before. Yet some things remain. A moment in time. A moment when time, people and places remain where they were many years ago.

One such moment is September 11, 2001.

You who read this now, were not with me that night, (for it was late at night in Sydney), so let me take you back to where I was that night nine years ago.

It was a normal sort of night, I was coming to the end of a days work and had started chatting to one of two dear friends in New York. We chatted about nothing in particular, nothing of any significance. Just two friends enjoying each others company, no matter how minor the details.

Then news came through - sketchy news about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Initially, we both thought the same - a light plane had probably lost its way or had mechanical failure and lopped off a tower on top of the buildings. We at first took little notice. We were not to know.

Soon it became clear that something terrible had happened. Two people, thousands of miles apart, sharing a moment in time. Her world became my world too.

Time goes by. People come and go, that friend is sadly no longer here. But every 9/11, I remember when I heard her tears, felt her fear, although a world apart. The tyranny of distance could not hold back a bond forged by an overwhelming tragedy that seemed to break all the rules and conventions of reality.

9/11. A day of tragedy. A day of change. The world changed, each of us changed - and not always for the better. From the twisted metal and smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center, Hope should have raised its noble head and said to those who seek to hurt others - "we shall not be like you, we shall not let you win by becoming your likeness wrapped in a coat of a different color."

It did not happen. Hope along with Opportunity, succumbed to the greed and agendas of They who took those twisted iron beams and turned them into weapons to spread their own brand of terror. The burning buildings I saw on TV that night, were to become burning buildings in the lands and lives of others.

Today, we should be remembering those who died when the Twin Towers came crashing down. We should be remembering the brave men and women, from different backgrounds, race and religions, that gave or risked their lives that day.

In our thoughts should be those who died at the Pentagon, and those aboard United Airlines flight 93.

Instead, we have become distracted. A wretched, sniveling little man who hides behind a pulpit has hijacked this day for his own twisted and no doubt lucrative agenda. A false prophet making a profit - like so many of his kind, on the back of the misery and grief of others.

Pastor Jones, were you there for the 411 emergency workers who died as they attempted to rescue people and fight fires? Were you there to offer their loved ones comfort and support? Did you speak words of love, comfort and compassion for those who succumbed to flames - flames which you planned to use to spread your message of hate and intolerance?

How dare you cast your evil shadow on the memory of others?

Soon, you will be forgotten. Just another evangelist in an expensive suit nodding graciously as you fleece those seeking comfort that has never existed within your warped, mercenary heart.

But we will remember today, and in all the years to come - those who died that day. We will remember the unimaginable bravery of police, fire fighters, rescue crews and media crews.

This is their day, and those of the loved ones they left behind.

The video below is Tom Paxton's moving tribute to the rescue teams, aptly named The Bravest

To Beth and Jen

Wherever you may be - be safe
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