It was a beautiful Tuesday morning. The skies were blue; the temperature was cool. It was a normal morning, the same as many others that have come before it. But, shortly, this day would change the very fiber of our society. It would change the culture of the world.
On that day at 8:46 am, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center killing all individuals on board.
At 9:03 am, United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center killing all individuals on board.
At 9:37 am, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon killing all individuals on board.
At 9:59 am, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
At 10:03 am, United Flight 93 crashed, as a result of a fight in the cockpit between hijackers and passenger’s try8ing to prevent the hijackers from using the plane as a weapon of mass destruction, into a field near Schwenksville, PA.
At 10:28 am, the World Trade Center North tower collapsed.
As a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001, 2,977 people were killed, 19 hijackers committed murder-suicide and more than 6,000 others were injured. The immediate deaths on that day included 265 individuals onboard the four hijacked planes, 2,606 victims who perished in the World Trade Center and 125 victims at the Pentagon. Of these numbers, 344 were firefighters, 71 police officers and 55 military personnel at the Pentagon.
The death toll continues to grow. Since those initial attacks, NYPD and FDNY officers continue to perish because of 9/11 related illnesses - primarily cancer related to exposure of the dust and debris from the attacks. Each year, additional officers and firefighters are added to the list of those who perished due to those attacks.
Those attacks led to a 20 year war where thousands of service members, government employees, contract employees and civilians have been killed.
This weekend, we recognize the 20th anniversary of those attacks and we remember those who have perished in the attacks, in the aftermath, in the war. We remember them, we honor them, we are still trying to heal from that event and we continue to grieve from that event. The actions of the past few weeks have opened many of those old wounds and for some that healing process and grieving process is beginning all over again.
As a church, as a community, as a country, let us pray for those who were victims of these attacks. Let us pray for those who lost their lives in the ensuing war. Let us pray for the victims of terror around the world. Let us pray for healing. Let us pray for grieving. Let us pray for forgiveness. Let us pray for all those who continue to suffer.
May God have mercy on us all.
Please join us on Saturday, September 11th at 2:00 PM at Abundant Life Church for the Birdsboro Community 9/11 Memorial Service. We will remember those who have perished and we will honor the First Responders who continue to hear the call to serve and protect our communities.