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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reflections on 9/11, national and personal

The commentary below was published just after 911. I wrote the personal reflection that follows below in 2006 on the five-year anniversary of 911. Thought it might be of interest today as we remember the fallen and the heroes.
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Remembrances left at Pentagon 2001

An American foundation

Published in the Washington Times, September 13, 2001
by Jonathan Imbody
The atrocities of September 11 left many Americans wondering how terrorists could strike at the heart of our nation's power. In fact, they did not--and never can.
The heart of our nation's power has never been our military and financial might but our commitment to a civilization based upon liberty and love. Reaffirming these highest values--even more so than rebuilding our physical security--now poses the greatest test of our nation's mettle.
As we commence this task, let us take inspiration from the selfless firefighters and paramedics who died trying to save strangers trapped in the World Trade Center. Let us follow the example of servant-leaders like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who joined the many service men and women at the Pentagon tending to the wounded. Let us imitate the quiet love shown by hundreds of citizens who stood in line to donate blood to aid their suffering neighbors. This is a nation of citizens who respond with love in action to the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
Such acts of selflessness, service and love will carry us through extremely difficult days ahead. And our reaffirmation of these values will strengthen an American foundation that can never be shaken.

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Personal reflection on 911

At this time five years ago, I was sitting in my home office, as I am now. Our daughter Bethany had called from work with the news about the attacks on the World Trade Center. As I watched that New York scene on TV, I felt and heard a thud. That thud turned out to be a plane crashing into the Pentagon, a few miles from our home.
Bethany had left the Pentagon on her morning commute into Washington an hour and a half before the plane hit. A series of cell phone calls to her followed, as the news unraveled about the terrorist attacks and rumors swirled about bombs exploding and fires in DC. We didn’t know what target would be next, and with Bethany’s office located in the Watergate and directly across from the Saudi embassy, her security was uppermost in our minds. I loaded a bike and a moped into our van and headed toward the city to get her out—a daunting challenge with much of DC evacuating outward. We eventually met up in Vienna, VA and I brought Bethany home safely.
But for thousands of Americans, of course, the news was much worse.
Our region here in DC remained in a state of siege for weeks to come. We fell asleep to the sound of fighter jets and awoke to machine-gun-touting soldiers in areas where we used to walk unconcerned.
Today we mourn the loss from that day of rescue workers, military personnel and innocent citizens. Five years after the attacks, we live in relative peace and apparent security, though our soldiers fight and give their lives on our behalf overseas. The war against terror rages on, even as we go about our daily business.
It occurs to me that our war on terror is a picture of spiritual warfare. A crisis, an attack occurs in our lives, and we earnestly seek God for intervention and protection. As He does so, and as we regain peace and security, it is easy to forget that spiritual warfare still, in fact, rages and roars all around us:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith 

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