Remembrance, forgiveness sought after Sept. 11
September 11, 2003
Isaiah 2:4 has become a mantra of the Catholic peace movement and it was repeated as such on Thursday, when more than 50 people gathered in the pews of the Holy Name Catholic Church to remember the anniversary the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,” reads Isaiah 2:4. “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.”
Deacon John Franklin delivered a message of forgiveness despite remembering. It was a message of peace.
Franklin remembered his own response to Sept. 11, 2001.
“I asked how could this happen? There was no atomic bomb dropped. They used hijacked airliners as weapons,” Franklin said. As a former fighter pilot, he sympathized with the servicemen who patrolled the air that day with orders to fire on civilian airliners. It was a day of confusion, he said. “We didn’t know how far things were going to go.”
He read from the Catholic catechism and ended with Isaiah 2:4.
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He led those attending in a prayer for peace. He prayed for those who died. He prayed for those involved in the rescue mission, for servicemen and women, and for international leaders, that they would work tirelessly for peace.
The congregation responded, “Lord hear our prayer.”
Those in attendance were offered business cards that read, “I choose to be an Instrument of Peace for …” and gave the taker a name of someone who died in the towers.
“Those cards are really powerful,” Betsy Johnston said. “It puts a name with all those numbers.” She took one for herself and several more for her family.
“I want to keep those people (who died) in our thoughts. When you want to strike out at someone else, you can use (them) to remind you why we don’t want to do that.”
On the second anniversary of Sept. 11, those at the service struggled with their feelings.
Brad Wright stood outside the church with his wife and two small children.
“It’s been on television for the past couple days. It was hard to watch. I feel sad, but it’s a difficult thing to talk about,” Wright said.
The day the attacks happened, everyone was glued to their TV sets. They reeled from a variety of emotions, but “it was so horrific that we couldn’t internalize it,” Johnston said. Two years later, she is still processing the events of that day.
“I was pretty emotional today, even more than last year. It is hard to contain,” she said. “I’m glad the church did something today. We need to keep the people who died in our memory.”
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