This weekend marks the 20 year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York on September 11, 2001.
According to a documentary from History.com, “[a] total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, including the 19 terrorist hijackers aboard the four airplanes. Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
“At the World Trade Center, 2,763 died after the two planes slammed into the twin towers. That figure includes 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the building and save the office workers trapped on higher floors.”
I know the wounds and effects of 9/11 are still present in many people’s lives. Since that time, many have heroically served as U.S. Armed Service men and women to protect our nation from another 9/11 event from ever happening again. Many of these brave soldiers have served in Afghanistan trying to help the Afghan people find freedom and peace from the terrorist groups that live among them.
I imagine that it has been difficult for someone who served over in Afghanistan to see the Taliban retake the country so quickly. It could seem like: Everything I did meant nothing. But, that is not true! For twenty years, those U.S. Armed Service men and women have helped to create a world of peace, freedom, and life for many Afghan people. They helped many individuals suffering in many different ways, and they protected our nation well.
I encourage you this weekend to pray for those who have served in our Armed Services, especially those who served in Afghanistan, and to pray for those who have lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks and in the line of duty. Let us also pray for the Afghan people, especially refugees and those who suffer religious persecution.
You might also consider finding ways to thank our veterans for all that they have done for us to preserve peace and freedom in our country and around the world. Our faith is about peace and freedom. It is not a blissful peace but one that comes from a right relationship with God and neighbor. It is not an absolute freedom of doing whatever you want but one that exists for the sake of pursuing the good as revealed by God.
There is such a need for healing in our world today in so many ways. May we continue to trust that God is directing all things by his Divine Providence. And may we help one another along the path of salvation with true charity!
In Jesus, through Mary and St. Joseph,