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9/11 Remembered
September Song
Archbishop Antonio Hernández, O.M.D.
Only the most hard-hearted atheist would not have prayed after this event

Quite 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 won’t

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. It’s such a horrid, emotional memory that I can’t 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. I’m still not clear on how many people died. The figure of 7,500 dead has been tossed around-- perhaps a reader can enlighten me.
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. That’s footage I don’t 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! It’s worse than any Cold War horror fantasy, and the press is treating it in a way that lives up to President Grover Cleveland’s 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 didn’t 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 the attack.

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 wasn’t much of an actual attack. The attackers on September 11th were the ugliest kind of religious fanatic, who believes God has authorized wholesale murder. Isn’t 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.
September 2002

Set Alaska Free?

email: "Antonio. Hernandez"

One Nation under Scrutiny
Rev..Antonio Hernández, IBA
Thomas Jefferson, for example, wrote a great deal about God, yet he was an atheist.

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