I’ll never forget that day now 7 years past.  That beautiful, sunny September morning.  I arrived at work at a small public library in Florida to find all my coworkers in the break room, watching the TV.  A jet liner had collided with one of the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan.  My coworkers and I remembered times we had flown into New York, recalling the rather uncomfortable proximity between the planes and those towering buildings.  We assumed it must have been a terrible, tragic, strange accident.  Just an accident.  And then, right before our eyes, another plane struck the other tower.  And we knew that what had happened was far more terrible, tragic, and strange than an accident.  I still remember how it felt like a lead ball had plunged into my guts.  And everybody was in shock.  It was like living in a nightmare.  And it was just beginning.

I never want to forget… I hope nobody ever forgets this day.  It’s really hard to talk about, though.  Words always fail.

So, here are some prayers to fill the silence.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

From the Diocese of Dallas:

God of perfect peace, violence and cruelty can have no part with you,
for you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
You are our strength in adversity, our hope in times of trouble,
and our comfort in sorrow.
 
Hold those families who were affected by the attacks of 9/11 
carefully in the palm of your hand, especially at this time of year.
Welcome all those lost into your kingdom, 
holding them close to you now and forever.
Guide those who continue to serve and protect our country
in order for us to experience the blessing of freedom.
 
May our leaders and decision makers have a high sense 
of responsibility and be free from temptations of selfish interests.
Let them be filled with knowledge and wisdom
so that resolutions adopted and laws enacted
may meet the standards for the good of your people.
 
We pray especially for all those who have given
the ultimate sacrifice for the price of our freedom.
In memory of them, let us rise again and build again
and live free from fear. 
 
We ask this in Jesus' Name.
 
AMEN
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