My coworker stood in the doorway to our office space on September 11, 2001. Divided into four work areas partitioned by cubicles, two of us could see her pale face and bewildered look. “Y’all,” she said. “I just heard on my car radio, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.” I listened as chills engulfed my body. While we tried to fathom what type of miscalculation could have caused this accident, a second person ran down the hallway, breathless. “Another plane crashed into the other tower!”
We scrambled to the warehouse adjacent to our offices where workers stood transfixed, watching the horror on a small television. After two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers, another hit the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The destruction of that day claimed more than 3,000 lives. It shook us in our Baton Rouge, Louisiana workplace as the tremor spread worldwide. We gathered in churches to pray for our nation and families of those who died. Now on the tenth anniversary of this tragedy, no prayers or religious tribute were to be shared in the national remembrance ceremony because they may be “offensive.” Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York City’s mayor on the day the towers fell, stepped to the lectern today. Here is his tribute.
“The perspective that we need and have needed to get through the last ten years and the years that remain are best expressed by the words inscribed by God in the book of Ecclesiastes,” Mr. Giuliani said as his wife Judith Nathan, stood behind him.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to win, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
To this I reflect on another verse from that same chapter: “He has made every thing beautiful in its time.”
Hundreds of books have been written about this day, but none will surpass these words of wisdom from what I consider the greatest book ever written. Thank you for this reminder, Mr. Guliani.