Today is September 11, 2011. On September 11, 2001 I woke to my news radio alarm, switched on live TV, and watched the second plane hit, the second tower fall, then the first. By the end of the morning, my heart was rubble. All those families. All that loss and destruction. The “It could never happen here” bubble had burst and what was left was dust. debris. DNA.
When a nation grieves together, it changes us. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed. Because in all that chaos, God was protecting some, infusing others with unshakable courage, drawing others to himself. Letting others go.
This morning, I woke to my news radio alarm, but instead of the sounds of disbelief, speculation and fear, I’m listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing God Bless America and Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful” played as a tribute to the lives lost.
This morning, I’m thinking about New York City. About Broadway, and Chinatown, and Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the irrepressible energy that is Manhattan. So, seeking some inspiration FROM New York during a day that is so much ABOUT New York, I decided to focus my attention on this poem of hope and welcome.
New Colossus (The poem in the base of the Statue of Liberty)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” – Emma Lazarus