There are so many thoughtful and passionate reflections on September 11th available in the blogosphere. The Anchoress has been writing about a stubborn Mayor Bloomberg in NYC who continues to refuse to allow first responders and clergy to attend commemoration ceremonies. In part, she writes:
I thought public outcry might move the mule, but without any push from mainstream media, he is comfortably sticking to his guns.
She goes on to note that Victim 0001 on that day was recorded as Fr. Mychal Judge, chaplain of the FDNY. He was killed while ministering to victims in the North Tower when debris from the collapsed South Tower flew into the lobby and killed and injured many there. He was one of the first people on the scene to provide pastoral and physical care to victims. Yet, clergy are not allowed to be present at this year’s ceremonies? There is something fundamentally wrong with Mayor Bloomberg’s decision. While he tries to justify it by saying “there isn’t enough room,” would anyone have said that on that horrific day? “Sorry, Father. Not enough room for you and your praying and your giving succor to people completely adrift in the most traumatic event of their lives.” It is truly infuriating. Oh, and let’s remember that the majority of the 343 firefighters killed that dreadful day were members of the Roman Catholic Church. But, sorry. No clergy and no First Responders allowed.
Mark Steyn, never one to mince words, decimates Mayor Bloomberg and his “no room” defense:
As Mayor Bloomberg’s office has patiently explained, there’s “not enough room” at the official Ground Zero commemoration to accommodate any firemen. “Which is kind of weird,” wrote the Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, “since 343 of them managed to fit into the exact same space ten years ago.” On a day when all the fancypants money-no-object federal acronyms comprehensively failed — CIA, FBI, FAA, INS — the only bit of government that worked was the low-level unglamorous municipal government represented by the Fire Department of New York.
I mean, can we ever give the firefighters too much credit for the bravery displayed on that day? While others ran out of those burning towers, they ran in. Peggy Noonan writes eloquently:
And there were the firemen. They were the heart of it all, the guys who went up the stairs with 50 to 75 pounds of gear and tools on their back. The other people who were there in the towers, they were innocent victims, they went to work that morning and wound up in the middle of a disaster. But the firemen saw the disaster before they went into it, they knew what they were getting into, they made a decision. And a lot of them were scared, you can see it on their faces on the pictures people took in the stairwells. The firemen would be going up one side of the stairs, and the fleeing workers would be going down on the other, right next to them, and they’d call out, “Good luck, son,” and, “Thank you, boys.”
And they weren’t the only ones. Peggy Noonan also talks about a man who wouldn’t leave his wheelchair bound coworker stranded in the tower and so, they left this world together hopefully clinging to God as they clung to each other. Can any of us imagine that moment?
And it is not just in New York City that the gods of political correctness have worked their magic. At the 9/11 ceremony hosted by the Episcopalian National Cathedral, the “prayer service will include the President of the Islamic Society of North America, a Buddhist nun, and a Hindu, evangelicals and conservative Protestants were omitted, though they represent 30-40 percent of Americans. No Catholic is listed on the event website. So liberal Episcopal clergy apparently will represent Christianity. On Thursday, a cathedral spokesman told The New York Times that a Baptist may be invited.”
Apparently, the aversion to Christianity extends to what is popularly referred to as the “Cross at Ground Zero.” The Association of American Atheists has filed suit in the New York State Supreme Court asking for the removal of the cross from any publicly funded memorial museum. It doesn’t matter that over 85 percent of Americans identify with Christianity (which uniformly identifies with the Cross), the Atheists insist “it would diminish the civil rights of atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims and all other non-Christians, in so far as the cross promotes Christianity above all other religions.” Frankly, when I read statements like this, I am left speechless.
Johann Christoph Arnold, from the Catholic Planet, gives the best response to the atheists saying:
Amid the smoke and rubble at Ground Zero, rescue workers came across a twisted steel cross that became a landmark of hope for firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers. As if in answer to the question burning in so many minds–Where was God on 9/11?–this cross reminded us again of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. The cross was God’s answer to the world’s sin and suffering; it remains the only answer. (emphasis mine)
Finally, there’s been a lot of discussion about how people will remember 9/11. At our house, we will hang the flag. We will talk about that awful day and my husband and I will share our memories with our children. We will go to church. We will pray for the victims of 9/11 and their families and we will turn to the Cross on bended knee because it remains the only answer.