Still I find it hard to accept the terrible reality of the events of Tuesday 11th September, 2001. The days go by, but the pain does not go away. Nor does the passing of the days in any way diminish the enormity of the human tragedy that has befallen us.
As a man I find myself shocked, stricken, angry and grieving. As an American I find myself affronted, indignant, defiant, and very much focused on recompense.
And yet I am more than just a man, and I am more than just an American. I am a Christian man and a Christian American, and as such I know that I must be willing to rise above my basic human passions and my desire for vengeance, to focus on what will be of most benefit to my country, and indeed to humanity itself, for the long term.
As an American I am outraged and defiant. As a Christian American I must also defy the temptation to give in to the hatred of my enemies. As a human being I am angry and vengeful. However, as a Christian human being I also recognise that vengeance ultimately belongs to God and that final justice will not truly come until His Kingdom comes.
The terrorist aggression of Tuesday 11th has been labelled ‘an unprovoked attack upon innocent people’, and so, in many ways, it was. And yet we should not allow this language to mask from us that fact that these murderous activities have a history behind them. How is it that we have come to find ourselves the object of hatred of so many of our Middle-Eastern neighbours? What is it that can drive a civilised people to such levels of perversity such that they can rejoice in the streets over our terrible suffering? These are difficult questions with complex answers, and if we can rise above our anger and our pain we will see that these questions deserve serious attention, and not simply some knee-jerk response that arises out of the bitterness of our grief or out of a wounded national pride.
My friends, the challenge that lies before us now is not simply for us to show the world that we are bigger and tougher than our enemies. God requires more of us than that. The challenge that lies before us now is for us to show the world that we are bigger people than our enemies – more principled and more mature than those who would seek to destroy us.
If America is going to maintain its place of leadership on this planet as the world’s greatest superpower, then let it be a leadership that is based upon principles of equity, openness, mercy and forgiveness, and not simply upon a show of power. Indeed, we can only expect God to prosper our nation and our cause if we are willing to follow in His ways.
Respectfully submitted for publication on September 15th 2001
by speechwriter Rev. David B. Smith. Still Awaiting approval.