Antonio Hernández, O.M.D.
the most hard-hearted atheist would not have prayed after this event
a few shows will be on television this week commemorating the vicious,
gutless attack of September 11th, 2001, on our soil. That is a day
none of us can forget I certainly wont
Sitting in a coffee shop, enjoying a cappuccino at around 10 a.m., I turned
to look at the television set they happened to have there. What I saw
made me cry on the spot: one of the World Trade Center towers in blazes.
We watched, speechless, as the second tower was hit. Its such a
horrid, emotional memory that I cant even recall how or when each
tower fell. We then quietly debated the event: Was it an accident? How
could one of our planes hit the towers? No one suspected an attack.
The news came a bit later-- when a whole side of the Pentagon was obliterated.
Then we knew our sovereign soil, our beloved country, was being directly
assaulted. Im still not clear on how many people died. The figure
of 7,500 dead has been tossed around-- perhaps a reader can enlighten
Editor writes ( The current list of the overall missing and dead has
2,819 names, but authorities expect to release a revised list this week.)
The shows slated for September 11th seem somewhat ambiguous. One will
be about the towers falling. Thats footage I dont ever want
to see again; we must have seen it hundreds of times, and in the first
week alone they must have run those plane attacks every 5 minutes. Another
show will be about "artifacts" found around Ground Zero. Artifacts,
from Ground Zero
on American soil! Its worse than any Cold
War horror fantasy, and the press is treating it in a way that lives up
to President Grover Clevelands name for it: ghoul.
As I think back on the weeks following the attack, many images come to
my mind: the volcano-like aftermath of the towers collapses. The
New York City workers desperately trying to save lives and triage the
wounded. The body of FatherJudge being carried out by firemen, for all
the world to see perhaps the first time a corpse was openly carried
that way on television. As a priest, I cannot forget that particular image.
At times I feel tears sting my eyes when I envision the faces I saw on
the newscasts, people injured, ill, bereft, covered in dirt and ash. Then
there are the faces of the families who lost loved ones.
As a priest, I also cannot forget that religious fanaticism is what caused
this cowardly, un-Godly attack. We have heard the Muslim terrorists say
they attacked the World Trade Center because they felt that would be the
best place to kill the largest number of powerful American Jews. I have
heard that they wanted to hit us where it really hurt; thank heaven they
didnt go for the White House or Capitol Hill.
On the flip side of the coin, many people expressed to me a tremendous
annoyance at the phrase "God bless America", feeling that a
deeply serious prayer had been turned into propaganda. Only the most hard-hearted
atheist would not have prayed after this event, but there is a major "creep
factor" to the overly religious zeal we have been seeing here since
Have we not learned more than one lesson here? A few maniacs succeeded
in attacking us, on our own soil, with our own commercial airplanes. Many
innocent people died, while only about a dozen terrorist goofballs perished.
The last time an attack was suffered on American mainland soil was in
the war of 1812, and that wasnt much of an actual attack. The attackers
on September 11th were the ugliest kind of religious fanatic, who believes
God has authorized wholesale murder. Isnt this a good lesson about
curbing overly zealous religious fanaticism? We see enough of it in America
as it is.
For myself, I include in my prayers all those involved in the attack
including the attackers. I do not insist that others pray, nor do I suggest
that they ought to go to church more often. I do not criticize atheists
for taking a different view of things. My criticism is reserved for those
in America who in some way helped make the attacks possible. My criticism
is for those who have not yet been able to capture and hang the murderer
who organized these attacks. My anger is reserved for the bastards who
actually attacked us, and for those in the government who seem to be doing
next to nothing about it. My prayers, my hopes and my best wishes, are
for the families affected by this, for all our fighting troops in Afghanistan
(Semper Fi! Hu-rah!), for the nation and for our children, who will always
have this attack standing out prominently among their childhood memories.
And my deepest prayer is that those children will grow remembering, and
learning, from all this.
© Archbishop Antonio Hernandez O.M.D.
email: "Antonio. Hernandez"
Nation under Scrutiny
Jefferson, for example, wrote a great deal about God, yet he was an atheist.
< Reply to this Article