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The Statue of Liberty is seen in New York City as the Tribute in Light installation shines behind it to mark the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Statue of Liberty is seen in New York City as the Tribute in Light installation shines behind it to mark the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Photo Credit: Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Brooklyn bishop reflects on ‘attack that shook foundations of our society’

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The nation “can never forget” the 9/11 tragedy “that shook the foundations of our society and our trust in our government to protect us,” Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in his Sept. 9 column in The Tablet, the diocesan newspaper.

“As a city and as a nation, we all put out into the deep waters of post-9/11 remembrance,” he wrote, echoing the name of his column, “Put Out Into the Deep.”

“We remember those who were killed, those who survived, those who came to their rescue, and those who sacrificed themselves in many ways then and now. We can never forget this tragedy, which marked a turning point in the understanding of our society of national security and pride,” he added.

He asked Catholics to join him in prayer Sept. 11, the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York City, in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington. The anniversary also is called Patriot Day.

“We must continue our efforts to defend the security of our country from forces of external and internal origin. Without such security, we can never assure peace, a peace that allows us to live as God intended,” Bishop DiMarzio said.

In addition to 2,977 fatalities resulting from the attacks, more than 25,000 other people sustained injuries and many people have suffered substantial long-term health consequences.

It is one of the single deadliest terrorist attacks in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

Bishop DiMarzio in his column noted the bravery that first responders displayed the day of the attacks. New York City police chaplains Msgr. Robert Romano and Msgr. David Cassato and New York City fire chaplain Msgr. John Delendick and many other priests of the Brooklyn Diocese also “ran to that awful scene in lower Manhattan,” he said.

“They went to assist in a time of recovery efforts, not only to minister to the survivors, but also to minister to the first responders,” he said. “We must never forget the sacrifice and heroism of so many on that day and in the weeks that followed.”

At least one Catholic chaplain lost his life that day: Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, a beloved New York City fire chaplain who died ministering to victims in the rubble of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.

The COVID-19 restrictions prevented the reading of the names of all the victims at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

When the museum said it would instead play a recording of the names from its “In Memoriam” exhibition, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation invited 9/11 victims’ families to take part in a memorial ceremony at ground zero for the reading of the names.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. In his remarks, he prayed tribute to “the heroes of Flight 93,” whose actions he said “are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attended the National September 11 Memorial and Museum annual commemoration at ground zero in New York. Biden’s running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, spoke at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia.

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