Tuesday began with opening worship (Sorry about that again Chaplain Weedon. My roommate and I both set the alarm early, but we accidently hit “off” instead of “snooze”. Also, we expected the service to be longer than 15 minutes. Please don’t tell my members about the “short sermon” option.)
After the service, we went to our assigned busses for a tour of Midtown Manhattan, and some time at Ground Zero.
The tour of Manhattan was eye-popping. We drove down 42 street at Times Square. The last time I was there was after the prostitutes were kicked out, but before the last of the XXX bookstores were removed. It was “safe, but seedy”. Now it’s like the Las Vegas strip: lights, signs, festive, friendly, and filled with shows. Forty-five minutes later, we had crawled through the traffic to and were dropped off at ground zero.
I had opportunity to see the towers in 1995. They were kind of cool. I didn’t go in, as I wanted to get to some other places on the south end of Manhattan. Six years later they would be brought down by evil men, doing the will of their father, the devil. We went to an exhibit of artifacts from that day. Numerous pastors from the Atlantic District said that they had never been down there before. It was too painful for them. I can understand that. Most of them had tears in their eyes, as did most of the Wyoming delegation. There are some wounds that never heal. In a sense, 9/11 is what brought me to the Wyoming District. My predecessor was called up after 9/11. He returned home for a brief period and was called up again. At that point, he resigned his call to the parish as a way of showing love to his flock. He felt it was unfair to continue leaving them, and given the uncertainty of military chaplaincy at that time, he did the honorable thing.
A shout out to Chaplain David Anderson for his faithful service to God and country during, and even after that time.
Pictures seemed out of place, so I did not take any, except near the entrance to the museum. This is sacred ground, and the exhibits are remnants of lives cut short. They are artifacts of death.
I will dwell no further on what I felt as I saw some of the remains of that day, and walked to the reflecting pools, engraved with the names of the victims of that atrocity. My feelings and impressions are not especially significant in all of this. I only say to families and friends of the victims, especially to the more than 1,000 whose remains have never been identified, I am deeply sorry for your loss. Even after twelve years, I remember you in my prayers, and will continue to do so.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author. They do not represent the opinion of anyone else in the Atlantic or Wyoming Districts, or in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Please also note that this disclaimer is made freely by the author, and not at the request of any person or group.