Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
A day in late summer. The Labor Day weekend was a memory. Students were settled into their academic routines. Another work week was up and running. The rhythm of life and living were pulsating along at at steady beat.
All of a sudden, the United States suffered a heart attack.
Within the span of seventeen minutes, two commercial aircraft were deliberately crashed into the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center in New York, NY. Thirty-four minutes after the second, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Twenty-six minutes after that, a fourth crashed into a farm field near Shanksville, PA.
As if this event couldn't get any more surreal, it did.
Almost an hour after the South Tower was hit, it collapsed. Thirty minutes later, the North Tower met the same fate, having been burning since the crash. A third building at the WTC collapsed later in the day.
When the smoke dissipated and the dust plume settled and the rescue and recover efforts were well under way, only then could we begin to total the devastation.
The final number: 2,996 fatalities.
We are now fourteen years removed from it and we still wonder, "Why?"
Not event the death of the leader of this attack has really brought us any closure.
Ceremonies will be held across the country on this Patriots Day, especially at the three sites where the planes did the damage.
And we as a country will remember. And we as a country will grieve some more.
While evil has happened before and after this tragedy, this was the kind that makes one sit up and take notice. It is a reminder that evil plays under its own rules and sometimes under no rules. It fills the void when good is not there, for Nature abhors a vacuum. Its end game is destruction and death.
This is not Heaven; it isn't even close to being Eden. We still live in a world reeling from Original Sin. While our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through His Life, Death, and Resurrection, "because by His Holy Cross...has redeemed the world," we still are working out our salvation "with fear and trembling". The world still groans under the yoke of evil. Only on the Last Day will we be free of it.
So the weeds still grow with the wheat. Our attempts to overcome it may seem futile and feeble, but fighting the good fight is still the only option. Only in Christ will the harvest be fruitful. Only "with the help of Thy Grace" shall we be able to complete the works of redemption and salvation.
That is why we need to remember events like this. (And, by all means, visit your favorite 'blogs; this is one of those days in the 'blogosphere where a tribute is lovingly required.)
This is how we help God draw good from evil.