If shown a picture, most people could readily identify the Acropolis, Sphinx, Coliseum (Colosseum) or the Wailing Wall. While these structures date back thousands of years, they continue to fascinate us even today. Their very existence tells us something the people who built them and their need to make structures that would withstand the test of time. For all of their grandeur, the simple truth is: these structures, like most manmade things, will crumble into the dusk from which they were taken.
On September 11, 2001, the world watched in horror as the World Trade Center Towers crumbled to the earth taking with them the lives, hopes and dreams of more than 1,000 people. Now ten years later as I look at a piece of the Towers – carefully preserved but rarely seen or touched – I feel the weight of that day all over again. When my son’s scout master gave each troop member a rock, I was filled with a type of dread. I simply couldn’t figure out what to do this with the rock. I certainly didn’t want to see it daily; it was an unwelcome reminder of one of the worst days of my life and one of the darkest days in this nation’s history.
Ten years later I am grateful for the rock because it serves a reminder that while life is fleeting it is also precious. I have come to know that when we choose to, we can put aside petty issues and divisiveness and allow ourselves to weep collectively for what was lost on that day. Also in the intervening years we have learned to celebrate what is good in this country and the resilience of the human spirit.
If this rock could talk, what would it say? Would it talk exclusively about the horror of that fateful day? Or would it remind us that while structures and kingdoms rise and fall, the soul continues on?
And what do I do with this rock? If this rock could talk, I think it would say that perhaps, like us, one day it too should be returned to the dusk from which it was taken.
For those who lost family and friends my prayers are with you.
Amen and amen.