September 11


We weep today as we remember. We weep as we reflect on how we have changed. We weep at the divisions, the violence, the hatreds that are wringing the life out of us as a nation, as a world hostage to fanaticism, as humanity being robbed of its compassion and its soul. We weep because since that violent day which united us in shock and pain, America has fractured. We were attacked by fanatical ideologues, but even as we commemorate this sad anniversary, the lines between “us” and “them” are harsher at home blurring our shared citizenship. This day renews our sense of shock and reminds us of the pain of vulnerability. Yet, even as those memories wound us again, we realize that as a nation we have exposed others to the same suffering. We weep at the barbaric actions we have endured and we weep knowing that we are not entirely without culpability. We weep on this anniversary of that terrible day. We mourn and remember those we lost. Let us also weep for all who continue to be affected, for those whose hatred has destroyed their humanity. We cannot change the past, we can only change ourselves. From pain we can learn compassion and from division we can learn unity.


God of wisdom and compassion, You create eventual blessings out of every kind of evil. Make us instruments and agents of such creation as we strive to turn the post-9/11 challenges into opportunities and blessings for others and ourselves.


The terrorists of 9/11 were guided by a narrative of intercultural incompatibility. But as people of diverse religious and secular identities, we can prove them wrong in our unity. By building bridges of understanding, we can emerge from the shadows and learn — from one another — how to be our best selves.
Radhanath Swami

Suggested Reading

A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
Jeremiah 31:15

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
Matthew 12:25

As glass shattered, cement crumbled and steel melted in the inferno of senseless cruelty, the heart of humanity screamed in anguish. September 11, 2001 — a day when the evil potential of misguided ego was again exposed. While our landmarks collapsed in a cloud of smoke and debris, beneath a surge of shock and rage, something awakened in our hearts: compassion. Suddenly, our worldly obsessions faded away as we cried for the plight of others. In memory of this tragic day, let us join hands and pray for God’s grace to heal, unite and empower us to serve with love.

No matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family… as we honor the memory of those we have lost, let us summon that spirit once more. Let us renew our sense of common purpose. And let us reaffirm the bond we share as a people: that out of many, we are one.
Barack Obama


This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life, and we the democracies of this world are going to have to come together and fight it together.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair


On this anniversary of unbelievable sorrow, comfort those who mourn, and guide our hearts toward healing and hope. Remind us of the love of Christ, love which leapt over cultural and ethnic boundaries to feed the hungry, seek the lost and care for the least. Make of Your children, no matter how we name You, one human family, bound together in the work of justice and peacemaking. Make us one with the Light that shines in the darkness and illumines a path toward understanding and reconciliation. Let love be our genuine call. Amen.

Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.
When man thinks only of himself, his own interests and places himself in the center, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined. Then the door opens to violence, indifference and conflict.
Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace?
Pope Francis


From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.
Denis Diderot