It’s a bright late-summer day in Boston, only the lightest puffs of cloud for decoration. A perfect day.
Three years ago, I was working in the John Hancock Tower in Boston. The word came out in fragments. First, we heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately thought it was a small private plane, one of those that seem to crash around the small airstrips here every few weeks. That quickly became a large passenger plane, a hideous accident. I though of the B-25 that had crashed into the Empire State Building in fog, but it was a bright late-summer day. Then another hit, and it was no accident. We clustered around the few desks with radios; some went back to their desks, tried to work, tried to bring up the Internet, and returned to the radio. We heard Logan Airport had closed down. From the east side of the building, we could see the approach path to Logan and a bit of the runway. That sky is almost never empty, but now it was. We were told to evacuate our tower.
No one close to me died that day three years ago, but in those years, I have over and over stumbled into the holes they left. Twice, on this anniversary and last year, the client I visit has shut down for a memorial service for someone who died that day, someone whose successor I am meeting. Another missed Flight 11 and lived. Another lost a brother. Tragedy invades the ordinary. I was far from the center of death; the holes merge into an abyss at the center.
There are those who wish to bring the whole world down into that abyss, that image of the darkness that God’s absence has left in their hearts. We will never let it happen.