9/11 Plus 10

Murdoc’s got little to add to all that’s being said about the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

He will say that the homily in this weekend’s Mass, which focuses on the Christian duty to forgive, was a good one. Clearly, this topic on this weekend is one that could easily press a lot of my buttons, and the previous priest in our parish said some things on different occasions that pushed Murdoc into DEFCON 1 mode, but this message was probably about as close to on the money as you’re likely to get in church.

Our priest pointed out that to forgive someone did not necessarily mean to pardon them, and that it certainly did not mean to forget what it was that they had done to need forgiving for. He also pointed out that to act out of anger or to get revenge on an enemy is not what we’re taught, and Murdoc agrees.

We don’t make war upon those who war against us out of hatred or anger or a desire for vengeance. We make war upon those warring against us out of a desire and need to see justice done and a peace return. And if those who declare themselves our enemies refuse to co-exist in the modern civilized world and we believe it’s in our best interest and the interest of our allies and the other peaceable nations of the world to fight, so be it. America and her allies are not lashing out in rage and anger, blindly striking at anything that looks like a target, in an attempt to strike back after 9/11. Critics at home and abroad would have you believe that that is exactly what’s happening (or we’re trying to steal the oil…it’s always so difficult understanding exactly what most critics are saying) but anyone who’s paid much attention to what’s actually happening instead of listening to the blowhard pundits and entertainers knows that the critics are not telling the truth.

Several years ago I wrote a summary of the first chapter of the 9/11 Commission Report entitled Planes. As in plural. The title of that chapter is “We have some planes”, which is something transmitted by the hijacker pilot of American 11. It is believed that he meant to make the announcement on the internal PA system but accidentally keyed the transmit button and was overheard by Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center. The statement is chilling because it indicated that this was not an ordinary hijacking and it wasn’t carried out by a lone group of terrorists but it was, as we learned, part of a large horrific plot orchestrated by skilled enemies who were very serious about their business.

“We have some planes.”

The man who said that is no longer in this world, and Murdoc strongly suspects that he is disappointed about how things turned out for him in the next one. But if he were taking messages, Murdoc’s transmission would be this:

You have some planes? I’ll admit that’s bad. Even a little scary. But I’ve got a message for you, too. You don’t have ENOUGH planes. Not nearly enough. In fact, I don’t think there are enough planes in the whole world. Not for you to win. So you do things your way and we’ll do things ours; my kids and grandkids will see who was right.

Today we remember the fallen. We honor those who went into the fires or who fought back on this day ten years ago. We respect those who keep us safe. And we know who will prevail.

God Bless America.


  1. Good post.

    I’ve always understood that forgiveness was something which followed contrition. I do you harm, I apologize, you forgive. Take out the ‘I apologize’ part and it’s not forgiveness anymore.

      1. The offender can ask the offended for forgiveness and the offended forgive them.

        Or some times the offended has to forgive for their own state of mind, without the offender asking for it, so thoughts of revenge don’t lead the offended to go overboard and do something worse to the offender, and then the whole thing snowballs and becomes another middle east.

  2. I’ve thought for years about this topic in relation to someone that wronged me worse than I have ever been by anyone else in my life. Forgiveness for something that is unforgivable seems so spineless and too easy for the offender. But carrying around the anger and hurt only eats away at you and stops you from healing and moving on. The only thing that seems to work is time and distance, and as the shock and anger fade, a more dispassionate view of the events can take over.

    Not to equate mass murder with having your heart stepped on, but I do think some of the basic principles are the same. You need not forgive someone for a wrong to learn lessons from it and move on from it. Sooner or later you have to let go of the pain and move forward.

    1. A foundational concept of Contrition is having remorse for your actions and asking the injured for forgiveness that completes the circle. If the transgression is Murder then you are unable to ask the Dead, there by making Murder a sin unforgivable and beyond Contrition. You will need to plead your case at your own Judgement Day.

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