4 2 mins 14 yrs

I was very touched reading of the visit by Pope Benedict XVI, chilled by the morning mist, to the ruined site of the World Trade Center in New York yesterday.  

The Pope walked down a long ramp into the heart of where the World Trade Center had once stood and knelt in silent prayer before a "pool of reflection" at the memorial. He then lit a candle in remembrance of the 2,700 victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks who died in the streets and buildings all around him. Benedict called for terrorists to shun violence and find God.

cross-wtc.jpgJudging by the comments of those who had their faith severely challenged through the loss of loved ones of 9/11, the Pope’s visit has brought comfort and that is good enough for me. Even though I have lived through years of terrorism here in Northern Ireland and seen what it does to the innocent victims, the scale, nature and locations of 9/11 still bring a sense of horror. Like so many reading this, I guess, I have stood at ground zero and have been struck dumb by the sheer emptiness of it all. What happened that day WAS  a declaration of war on us all – conservatives and  liberals – and it saddens me the unity that immediately followed has now been erased. But when all is said and done, it is the tens of thousands of relatives of those murdered by Islamic terrorists that day who have to deal with the aftermath on a daily basis, and so I join with all those who thank the Pontiff for his prayers.

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4 thoughts on “PRAYERS AT GROUND ZERO

  1. I walked past the site 40 minutes ago. Its a noisy construction site once again, big cranes moving around, flatbed trucks lined up to deliver steel for the Freedom Tower.

    No matter how many times I see the place, there’s the thought of what is no longer there, those who are no longer with us.

    I’m pleased that the Pope visited.

  2. I was down there just before Christmas and it does really stop you in your tracks. However the one thing I did not expect and was not ready for was the sight of people selling ‘ground zero’ hats and similar touristy junk. I can’t imagine what people who buy those are thinking.

    There were also various unoffical ‘tour guides’ there showing/selling pictures and telling stories of the day. Nobody seemed to mind any of this but I found it quite disturbing. Seems like you can make a buck out of anything. Only one guy there telling stories of the day had the people rivetted and didn’t seem sleazy.

    "it saddens me the unity that immediately followed has now been erased."

    There certainly was a unity that was erased but you have to thank Bush for that. I also remember when 9/11 was actually happening, and apart from being generally gobsmacked by the events, thinking to myself "America is going to go mental". In the aftermath the response seemed to be much more considered and measured. Goodwill towards America at that time must have been the highest in a long time. An opportunity to salvage something and give the world real leadership was completely squandered by Bush.

  3. –the one thing I did not expect and was not ready for was the sight of people selling ‘ground zero’ hats and similar touristy junk. I can’t imagine what people who buy those are thinking.–

    Agree, strongly. I’ve had a word or two with the trinket sellers there.

    –There certainly was a unity that was erased but you have to thank Bush for that.–

    I don’t want to get into a huge debate on this, but I do think that the unity would have dissolved regardless of what the US did.

    There was a genuine sympathy and unity of purpose in the UK and in some other countries, which to a considerable extent did not filter through to the lefty/university classes. Moving a few miles to the west, in France I think the solidarity was an urban legend, and have a number of reasons for saying this.

    A lot of the support we had would have disappeared when we did ANYTHING at all to defend ourselves. Much of the support went away when we took entirely justified actions in Afghanistan–and to me, that was a dishonest support that was never worth the having.Iraq was/is debatable on the merits –Afghanistan, home of the Al Queda that attacked us, is not debatable by any honest person.

    So long as we were a victim crying in the corner we had all the sympathy we could ask for. When we acted in self-defense, we were not loved so much. Quel dommage.

    Had Gore been the president, he would have acted, probably in a different way, but he surely have gone into Afghanistan.

    And the "nous sommes toutes americains" unity of the urban legend would have disappeared just as surely as it did under the poor inarticulate Mr. Bush.

  4. Frank – pretty fairly stated. I too have watched these Ground Zero barkers with disgust, and once gladly watched an enraged NYC fireman "escort" one a few blocks from the scene "explaining" to him how inappropriate it was.

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