When General Lord Charles Cornwallis formally surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, VA on October 19, 1781, legend has it the British army band played a tune called "When The King Enjoys His Own Again". The lyrics associated with it at the time was an English ballad titled "The World Turned Upside Down". While this story has been historically refuted, the last line in each of the song's five verses seemed very appropriate:
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.History does seem to repeat itself on occasion. For sixteen years ago today, the world again was turned upside down. Someone could make the argument it hasn't been righted since.
Once again we mark the anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on this country's soil. Four commercial airliners were turned into suicide bombs. Two struck each of the "Twin Towers" in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. One slammed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The last one was headed to the Capitol Building, but was diverted into a field near Shanksville, PA.
The damage to the Pentagon was repaired. The "Freedom Tower" now stands near where those two buildings at the World Trade Center were destroyed. The crash site of the fourth plane is now a National Memorial.
But nothing could ever replace the loss of life.
The death toll: 2,996.
To paraphrase Gordon Lightfoot, "And all that remains are the faces and the names of the spouses, the sons, and the daughters." (Living memorials, indeed.)
Plenty of ink and pixels have been used since then in an attempt to answer the simplest yet most complex question humans can ask: "Why?"
I don't have nor will I ever have an answer. Who other than God understands evil? How from the depth of the heart and soul comes this kind of darkness? We will never fully know while we are here.
Perhaps we can take some comfort in these words from St. Paul:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose....What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?...What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?...No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28, 31, 35, 37-39
The scars of that day will remain will us. Today is a somber and solemn occasion, a time to recollect and grieve a little more. There will be plenty of commentary other than my own; seek and reflect upon those words. There will be ceremonies commemorating these event; avail yourself to one if possible.