September 6, 2010
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:1,2
Hard to believe, but the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks is this week.
The Pentagon Memorial is completed, and work at the World Trade Center is ongoing. At the only site tied to the terrorist attacks of 2001 administered by the National Park Service (NPS), the Flight 93 National Memorial, the first phase of construction is underway (and a temporary visitor center recently opened). Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush will be the keynote speakers at anniversary observances there Saturday.
The NPS website details the future components of the memorial, which is described as “a common field one day, a field of honor forever:”
–the Tower of Voices, 40 large wind chimes to evoke the sound of the wind and the 40 voices of the passengers and crew aboard the plane during its final moments;
–the Field of Honor, the circular heart of the park;
–the Entry Portal to the field, approached through a clearing of 40 red and sugar maple trees marking the plane’s flight path;
–the Sacred Ground, where Flight 93 crashed, able to be viewed by the public but accessible only to family members of the passengers and crew.
As visitors approach the Sacred Ground, they will have to go across ponds, an area called a “healing landscape,” since the water will be full of aquatic life. I like the idea of incorporating the concept of healing into the design.
And isn’t that we all crave, solace for our pain and grief? We search for it in good ways—at memorials and graveyards, through journaling, prayer and therapy—but also in unhealthy behaviors, like overeating, denial and unforgiveness. The thing is, each one of them, good or bad, is only temporary.
I certainly hope visitors and especially surviving family members and friends affected by the September 11 attacks find a measure of comfort at the memorials, especially on this anniversary weekend. But my prayer is that all of us look first to God the Healer (Exodus 15:26) who alone can fulfill His promise to completely do away with our tears and mourning (Revelation 21:4).
Oh, what a great day that will be!
It will be worth it all
When we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small
When we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face
All sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race
‘Til we see Christ.
–When We See Christ (Esther Kerr Rusthoi)