As the tenth anniversary nears, I think we should tell 9/11 stories. Where we were when the planes hit, what we did afterward, how it touched our lives, and how our world has changed since then.

Like Pearl Harbor and JFK’s assassination, 9/11 was a pivotal moment, a turning point in time.

My world, perhaps like yours, doesn’t encompass a vast array of personal contacts. But from the people I know and the abundance that I read, I don’t sense a simmering pot of unresolved feelings. People have moved on.

But the simple words “9/11” have deep meaning. I think it’s important to name the turning points and to reflect on them.

Among other things, it’s useful to remember what military folks call the “fog of war,” when events are swirling, information is scarce, and tensions are high.


Q: How do you think that a new synthesis will arise in time for our children and their families? Do they know the road that leads out of Egypt, or should we just not worry about that and leave them in God’s hands?

A: The need for a road starts in a quest to go somewhere. Get out of bondage, go home from exile, find a new world, search out adulthood, pursue adventure, answer a question.

Jesus listened to the questions people were asking, and so must we. We can’t just tell the world what road it ought to be walking. We need to engage the world: hear pains, hear questions, understand yearnings, feel losses, feel doubts. We need to be strong enough to remain silent and humble enough to let people’s questions change our minds.

Photo by Will Ehrich: Lamp post in Washington Square Park, New York