Article Responding to the September 11 Terror of 2001
The Call of Prayer after the Twin Towers Crumbled by Terrorism
The day of September 11, 2001, began as a calm morning of usual peaceful day. Yet, in that day every people not only in America but also in the whole world were struck by the unthinkable news that America was attacked by the unimaginable way. Everyone knows that even the mighty Chinese army would never dare to attack America. Yet, America was attacked in the calm morning of that day, and that by the people of less than twenty who had no weapons except small knives. With the small knives they hijacked four passenger jets, crashed two of them into the World Trade Center's twin towers and a third into the Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage. The fourth plane crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, killing all on board. From its route, it is assumed that the intended target of the fourth plane hijackers was the President of the United States.
What we were so struck by this formidable terrorism is the target it aimed and the means it employed. America was attacked sixty years ago, too. But it was only the U.S. Naval base in Pearls Harbor that was attcked, then. But now, the center of American leadership in economy, military, and politics were attacked at the same time! America has been one of the safest countries in the world, and New York is one of the safest places in America. Is America not the country that enjoys the defense of the invincible U.S. Air force? And in the morning of that Tuesday, the World Trade Center’s skyscrapers stood under the blue sky as an architectural vision of a strong nation confident of its future. But when the hijacked planes crushed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, they smoke billowing from the top floors, then crumbling into dust.
These grand architectures were the kind of buildings that no man's power, no gun could destroy. But what was so impossible was done when the suicide terrorists turned the passenger flights into missiles, killing thousands of innocent lives with their own. One could not watch the terrible scene without asking what kind of inhuman, unsympathetic hearts did this savage things. It was a day of great tragedy, a day of great loss, a day called, "Black Tuesday." A businessman covers his mouth against smoke and dust as he walks on a debris-strewn New York street after the collapse of one of the trade towers. New Yorkers typically do not show much emotion. But on this “black Tuesday” there was a huge outpouring of emotion -- a lot of weeping. At the scene of crumbling Twin Towers people screamed and there were men pounding their fists on cars. Joel Thomas, who works on ground systems at the Federal Aviation Administration, says, “I guess this is Armageddon. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s war, that’s what it is.”
The American way of living will go on, yet after the "Black Tuesday” living in America can not be the same hereafter. Travelers have to go through hours of long routine security check. This terror of September 11 is also most likely to trigger the first war in the twenty-first century, a war that can lead to the global war in case the war against the Taleban regime in Afghanistan polarize the the Western world and the Islam world.
After the Twin Towers were crumbled, something has changed in American consciousness. As a TV reporter put it, "For New Yorkers it is a day without the twin towers; and for Americans it is a day without the sense of security." Indeed, after the experience of the "Black Tuesday” people seriously ask, "Are we safe here?” Are we safe here where the passenger airplane can be turned into the instruments of evil terror? Are we safe here where we are living with the hidden terrorists? Are we safe in this world where the terrorists seems not minding to kill innocent lives? Are we safe here in this world where another war seems to be inevitable? Not only there is the sense of physical insecurity, there is also feelings of economic insecurity as what happened on the "Black Tuesday” can have a lasting negative influence on American economy, and accordingly on world economy.
Although the pattern of violence is different, terrorism is not a new story in human history. The Psalmist of the Old Testament knew this problem when he utters, "Look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart"(Psalm 11:3). The Psalmist recognizes that there is the confrontation of good and evil, and that the terrorists have weapons, hiding themselves. Yet, he had another problem. "If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (verse 2) But as he sees that “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven,” he knows that this is the world that the evil cannot prevail. “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked. And the one who loves violence His soul hates” (verse 5). The foundation of our security is here because it is our God who rules the world. Before we engage in the war for the sake of justice, this is what we must remember: The foundation of our peace and security is in the hands of the Almighty God.
What touches us so much is the way so many Americans have come together for prayer since the "Black Tuesday." Not long after the first tower crumbled, a number of New Yorkers were praying here and there. When the second tower crumbled, a woman yelled out, 'Everybody needs to pray, right now!' Christians everywhere felt the same need for prayer on that day. In boardrooms and news rooms, on campuses and in shopping malls, believers immediately began to pray. Scores of churches and even whole cities organized prayer vigils. Yes, this is what we have to do now. War seems to be inevitable as far as the will of the political leadership of our nation is to eradicate every nests of the terrorists. But the root of hatred can not be conquered by displaying the military power. We know terrorism is wrong. But do we know the roots of their hatred? Are we ready to vindicate that it is us who are on the righteous side? If their hatred of Western civilization is rooted in their prejudice of western value, then surely going to war cannot be the final answer for our quest for peace. What we really need to do is to build bridge between the differences of our perspective and theirs. Yes, we need prayer to seek God's wisdom before making further military action.
© Dae Ryeong Kim wrote this article on September 17, 2001.
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