The Anniversary of 9/11: Looking Back, Moving Forward
CINCINNATI—Five years have passed since New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., suffered
the worst acts of terrorism in our nation’s history. Though the country has been on a healing
journey ever since, deep wounds are often slow to mend. Questions linger: Why did this happen? What
can we do to move forward? Can we forgive the perpetrators of these tragedies? For many Americans,
such questions are still unanswered.
St. Anthony Messenger has devoted a special section—three articles and an editorial—of
its September issue to the anniversary of the attacks. Entitled “Healing After 9/11,” the
special section will be posted, after August 21, at: AmericanCatholic.org.
Peter Feuerherd’s “New York City: Five Years Later” delves into the terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center, how survivors look back on that day and how the events changed their lives.
In “Flight 93 Memorial: Sacred Ground in Pennsylvania,” Assistant Managing Editor Mary
Jo Dangel writes about the site in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed and how local Catholics were
involved in recovery efforts and volunteer at the temporary memorial.
Forgiveness is a theme that factors into the special section as well. In light of the attacks, such
grace can be difficult to find. Father Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., who teaches at Catholic Theological
Union in Chicago, reflects on what reconciliation involves in “Can We Forgive 9/11?” And
Assistant Editor John Feister rounds off the special section with his editorial, “9/11 and Pope
John Paul II’s Challenge,” which addresses how the modern communication that facilitates
terrorism can also spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Though five years have come and gone since the tragedies of that fateful day, for many people in this
country, healing is slow. Peter Feuerherd devotes part of his article to featuring survivors of the
attacks, such as Yvonne Robinson, 42, who left New York soon after 9/11. Five years ago, she was an
office worker for the Port Authority, the New York/New Jersey agency that built the World Trade Center.
On 9/11, she walked with her coworkers down more than 80 flights of stairs. Some of them never made
Mary Jo Dangel features, among others, John and Doreen Loiodici, two Red Cross volunteers who worked
at the site where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania’s Somerset County. Along with other volunteers,
they served meals to those who worked at the site, distributed supplies and ran various errands for
rescue workers. Doreen believes her faith has only strengthened through her experiences and that a “higher
power” got everyone through such a life-changing, traumatic experience. “You’d see
men cry; they’d just sit there and cry,” she says.
Doreen echoes an attitude expressed by others who worked near the site of the tragedy: “We thank
God for the opportunity to be able to help them, to hold their hands for a couple of minutes.”
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