September 11, 2001--a day that America and the world will never forget--a day that went down in history as a day of infamy---a day of massive destruction and terror. The enemy? Shadowy--faceless, fearless, feelingless, countryless, godless. There was no other event in our country's history that impacted the lives of so many people as what happened September 11, 2001; no other event that appeared to have forever divided the reckoning of time by freedom-loving people everywhere as "Before September 11, 2001" and "After September 11, 2001".
This horrific tragedy, meant to bring us down, had actually brought us up and magnified the human spirit as no other event could possibly have done. The sacrifice, the unflinching courage and bravery of the firefighters, the law enforcement people, the medical personnel and volunteers in carrying out their duties in the midst of danger to help the fallen, the injured, is to be commended. Man serving his fellowman was seen over and over again in the aftermath of September 11. Cheers to the courageous men and women who rose above their circumstances and triumphed through peril and adversity.
This web page is dedicated to the memory of those who had fallen in the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the United Airlines plane, Flight 93, which crashed in a suburb in Pennsylvania. The heroic act of some of the passengers on this flight averted a possible major disaster, and a grateful Nation will always remember.
This page contains scriptures, poems, and short stories that will bring comfort, peace, and hope to the bereaved families and friends and all who share in this most heart-wrenching tragedy.
Perhaps one of the most comforting chapters in the whole Bible is Psalm 23 also known as the Shepherd's Psalm. The Psalmist David wrote that though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he will fear no evil for the Lord will be with him to comfort him. Click here to read the The Lord Is My Shepherd in its beautiful graphic setting.
The scripture text in John Chapter 14, Verses 1-3, brings comfort to troubled hearts.
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
The life of Helen Steiner Rice had been one of great sorrow, pain and suffering, but she rose above her circumstances and gave the world a rich legacy of enduring poems that lift the spirit, give faith, hope, encouragement, peace and comfort to those who are fainting under a heavy load of care. Here's one of her poems:
Realizing my helplessness,
I'm asking God if He will bless
The thoughts you think and all you do
So these dark hours you're passing through
Will lose their grave anxiety
And only deep tranquillity
Will fill your mind and help impart
New strength and courage to your heart.
So take the Saviour's loving hand
And do not try to understand--
Just let Him lead you where He will,
Through pastures green and waters still,
And though the way ahead seems steep,
Be not afraid for He will keep
Tender watch through night and day,
And He will hear each prayer you pray.
So place yourself in His loving care
And He will gladly help you bear
Whatever lies ahead of you
For there is nothing God can't do...
So I commend you into God's care,
And each day I will say a prayer
That you will feel His presence near
To help dissolve your every fear.
--Helen Steiner Rice.
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." --Matthew 5:4.
Little Jimmy's neighbor lost her spouse of over 50 years. Friends and neighbors came to help and to offer words of condolences to Mrs. Smith. Little Jimmy's heart was touched and felt compassion for Mrs. Smith and wanted to comfort her. He told his mother that he would go over to see Mrs. Smith and try to comfort her. After a while, Jimmy came back home, and his mother asked: "What did you do to comfort Mrs. Smith?" "Oh", replied little Jimmy, "I just climbed on her lap, hugged her, and cried with her."
On September 11, 2001, I, the nation, and the world saw the World Trade Center twin towers burning, and we all cried.
In these times of fear and great perplexities and uncertainties, we need to claim God's promises that He will keep us from fear:
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." --1 John 4:18.
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." --Psalm 34:4.
"For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me." --Psalm 27:5.
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day." --Psalm 91:5.
"Thou art by hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverances." --Psalm 32:7.
The other day I was talking to a friend, and I noticed written across her sweat shirt were the words: TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED. I stood there momentarily silent and greatly rebuked. I thought of the many times I allowed myself to get stressed out. When things go wrong, when dreams are shattered, when debts are high and funds are low, oh, how easy it is for me to choose to be overwhelmed and distressed instead of counting the many blessings God showers down on me--the smile from someone I love, a reassuring note from a friend, the gentle shower on a spring day and the flowers that burst forth, the arch of a rainbow after a summer's rain, the songs of the whippoorwill at twilight, the twinkling stars that seem to dance and smile assuring me of God's love--all these are blessings that should cause me to sing and shout for joy and let the world know that I've been TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!
I've never made a fortune,
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.
And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.
Haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loving ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.
O, Remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe,
about the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.
If God gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.
Refuse to be discouraged--
refuse to be distressed,
For when we are despondent,
our lives cannot be blessed.
Doubt and fear and worry
close the door to faith and prayer,
And there's no room for blessings
when we're lost in deep despair.
So remember when you're troubled
with uncertainty and doubt,
It is best to tell our Father
what our fear is all about.
For unless we seek His guidance
when troubled times arise,
We are bound to make decisions
that are twisted and unwise.
But when we view our problems
through the eyes of God above,
Misfortunes turn to blessings
and hatred turns to love.
--Helen Steiner Rice
"Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9.
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." --Isaiah 40:31.
I received an email the other day, and when I clicked on it to read it, a message screen popped up warning me of an attachment and if I did not know who sent me the email that it might contain objectionable material, and I was given the option to delete it or read it anyway. Usually, at this point I would just delete the email and forget about it, but this time, however, this particular email captured my attention, and I ignored the warning and read the email. The topic was "Make Each Day Your Masterpiece" by Michael Lynberg. I read one of the short stories contained therein, and I was glad I did not delete it for the comfort the story provided was what the families, friends, and all of us who grieved over what happened September 11, 2001 need. Here's the story:
"A number of years ago, in Europe, there was a terrible accident, and forty men were trapped in a coal mine, where they suffocated to death. Their devastated families gathered at the entrance to the mine, and the pastor of the community came to address the crowd. He hoped to offer words of comfort and guidance. According to author Sidney Greenberg, this is what he said:
"What happened here is a mystery, impossible for us to understand. But I want to tell you about something I have at home. It's a bookmark that my mother embroidered and gave to me many years ago. On one side, the threads go this way and that, crisscrossed in wild and colorful confusion, and when you look at it, you would wonder if she had any idea what she was doing. But then, when you turn it over, on the other side you see the words 'God is love,' beautifully spelled out in silken threads. Now, today we are looking at this tragedy from one side, and it makes no sense. But some day we will be permitted to glimpse its meaning from the other side. Meanwhile, let us wait and trust."
Not now, but in the coming years,
Until I learned to trust the Lord,
I never learned to pray;
And never learned to fully trust,
'Til sorrow came my way.
Until I felt my weakness,
His strength I never knew,
Nor dreamed, 'til I was stricken,
That He could see me through.
He who drinks deepest sorrow
Drinks deepest too of grace.
God sends the storms so He, Himself,
Can be our resting place.
His Heart, who seeks our deepest good,
Knows well when things annoy,
We would not yearn for Heaven
If earth held only joy!
Oh, how wonderful it would be to know that when we have come to the end of life's journey, that we have nurtured our children and instilled in them moral values and strength of character, courage, fortitude in the face of difficulties, and wisdom to always see the guiding hands of the Lord in their lives. I would like to share a story that I know you will enjoy especially in view of the September 11 attack where we saw over and over again the fortitude, endurance, and strength of character exemplified by the courageous men and women who risked their lives to save others. The story is entitled, "A Mother's Walk".
A young mother set her foot on the path of Life. "Is the way long?" she asked. And her Guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."
But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the streams, and the sun shone on them, and life was good, and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this".
Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said, "Oh, Mother, we are not afraid for you are near, and no harm can come." And the mother said, "This is better than the brightest of days, for I have taught my children courage."
And the morning came and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top, they said, "We could not have done it without you, Mother." And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty. Yesterday I gave them courage, Today I have given them strength."
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth - clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said, "Look up! Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."
And the days went on, and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was small and bent. But her children were strong and tall and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother; and when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill...And the mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."
--A Mother's Walk by Temple Bailey.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who loved His appearing." --Timothy 4:7-8.
He will keep us and comfort and cheer us when we are lonely.
One is walking with me, over life's uneven way,
Constantly supporting me each moment of the day;
How can I be lonely when such fellowship is mine,
With my blessed Lord divine!
How can I be lonely When I've Jesus only
To be my companion and unfailing guide:
Why should I be weary, or my path seem dreary,
When He's walking by my side.
In the hour of sad bereavement or of bitter loss
I can find support and consolation at the cross;
Want or woe or suff'ring all seems glorified when He
Daily walks and talks with me.
Several years ago, a neighbor related to me an experience that happened to her one winter on a beach in Washington State. The incident stuck in my mind and I took note of what she said. Later, at a writers' conference, the conversation came back to me and I felt I had to set it down. Here is her story, as haunting to me now as when I first heard it:
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
"I'm building," she said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring.
"Oh, I don't know. I just like the feel of the sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."
The bird went glissading down the beach. "Good-bye, joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Ruth," I answered. "I'm Ruth Peterson."
"Mine's Windy" It sounded like Windy. "And I'm six."
She giggled. "You're funny," she said.
In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.
"Come again, Mrs. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."
The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, an ailing mother.
The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The never-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.
"Hello, Mrs. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know. You say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk" Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."
She chattered little-girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Windy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood even to greet Windy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.
"Look, if you don't mind, I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned on her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" - and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Oh" she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."
"Yes, and yesterday and the day before that and - oh, go away!"
"Did it hurt?"
"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"
"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn-looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.
"Hello," I said. "I'm Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."
"Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in."
"Wendy talked of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please accept my apologies."
"Not at all - she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. "Where is she?"
"Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you." Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.
"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks she declined rapidly. . ."
Her voice faltered. "She left something for you. . . if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?" I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman.
She handed me a smeared envelope, with Mrs. P. printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues - a yellow beach, a blue sea, a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:
"A Sandpiper To Bring You Joy"
Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.
The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of inner harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand - who taught me the gift of love.
--A Sandpiper To Bring You Joy by Mary Sherman Hilbert.
After the September 11 attack, Americans have come to appreciate even more what their country stands for--Freedom. Freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God according to the dictates on one's conscience, freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom from terrorism, peace, honor, truth, and justice--all these are symbolized by the flag of the United States of America. Since September 11, many people have flown Old Glory from their homes, their automobiles, their workplaces expressing patriotic feelings and supporting their country in a time of national emergency.
Here's a tribute to the Grand Old Flag.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up and see me.
I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
When I am flown with my fellow banners,
I am saluted.
I have fought in every battle of every war
The people of Korea, KheSan, Vietnam and Kuwait
I was there. I led my troops, I was dirty,
battleworn and tired,
but my soldiers cheered me.
And I was proud.
I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets
of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth
When I am torn into strips and used as bandages
MY NAME IS OLD GLORY, LONG MAY I WAVE.
Though the earth may run red with wars, battles and conflicts to end terrorism, those who perished in the September 11, 2001 attack have found peace and serenity in death, and their memory lives on in the hearts of freedom-loving people everywhere. For you, this page is lovingly dedicated.
Grand Old Flag Midi