Americans are still trying to grasp what happened on September 11, and we don’t yet know how to talk about what comes next. “War” was one of the first things we called it, inspired by images of burning buildings and memories of Pearl Harbor.
These past days the church has been open. People have come flowing in bearing pictures of “the disappeared,” sent by St. Vincent’s Hospital two blocks away, where the chapel was overwhelmed and the need had become too taxing for a staff readying for the arrival of the victims—victims who never came in anything like the expected numbers.
After the twin towers collapsed, Washington Square United Methodist Church in Greenwich Village opened its doors and telephone lines to crying, shaken passersby. “Then the walking wounded began appearing—folks who had walked out of the ‘ground zero’ area,” reported Jacquelyn Moore in a widely circulated e-mail message.
When the first aircraft hit New York’s World Trade Center during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, September 11, young children were arriving at Trinity Wall Street’s pre-school, staff were on the streets around the center, and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Wales was preparing for a videotaping with Trinity Television. Daniel P.
In the terrible terrorist attacks of September 11, thousands of our fellow citizens were buried under the rubble. The rest of us have been buried under the rubble of words that followed. It is hard to criticize such words; all of us utter trivial platitudes in moments when events simply exceed our capacity for reflection and insight.