As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11th, 2001 it is a good idea to pause and reflect on how our lives and country have changed since that terrible day. On that fateful day 2,977 people lost their lives as fuel laden jets were used as guided missiles to kill and destroy. The dead included 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and 55 US military personnel. Also to die that day was America’s sense of invincibility. We were no longer beyond the grasp of such horrible acts of terrorism.
As I watched the events unfold from far away (Northern Michigan) I knew somehow our lives would never be the same. Burnt into our memories are those terrible pictures of those planes crashing into the towers and ultimately seeing each of them imploding down. The evil jihadist terrorists driven by a profoundly distorted image of paradise are now burning in hell. The nineteen men who changed our world that day are receiving their due reward. But no amount of hell or eternal damnation can repay the thousands of families whose lives were permanently changed by their evil actions and intentions.
But I also want us to consider some other people whose actions that day were of a very different intention! For every villain that beautiful Tuesday morning, there would be dozens of heroes who would act in totally selfless and heroic ways. I think of the hundreds of firefighters and policemen who ran into those buildings when everyone else was running out. Every one of those men and women are heroes. Not that they were heroes but they are heroes. They gave the ultimate price to try and rescue those who were trapped and dying. None of us knows how we will react when life’s tragedies befall us but those heroes serve as a model of selfless surrender. Just as the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave His life for His sheep, these community servants gave their lives attempting to rescue others.
That’s why our community memorial service on 9/11 is called “Honoring our Heroes”. Our world has a much distorted value system. We pay athletes millions of dollars to hit or pitch a baseball or sink a basket or make a putt, but what about those who serve and protect us in communities? Aren’t the people who run into burning buildings while everyone is running out the real heroes? Many firefighters volunteer and give of their time freely so they can serve people in need. Yes, let us pause and reflect on who the real heroes are in our communities.
We invite you to join us at New Durham Chapel in Piscataway on Sept. 11th, 2011 at 4 PM, as we say “Thank You”, to those who are serving our communities. In this season of remembering look for the opportunity to thank those who are serving your community.
Serving the King,
Pastor Rich Sivo