1st Responders Offered Light on Dark Day, Says Aide

Father Lombardi Reflects on 10-Year Anniversary of 9/11

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The sacrifices made by first responders on 9/11 offered a ray of light on a «day of darkness,» says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, reflected briefly on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in an editorial on Vatican Radio.

«Ten years have passed since the incredible terrorist attack that launched four airliners full of innocent passengers into buildings that symbolized the economic, military and political power of the United States in New York and Washington,» he began.

Father Lombardi noted that some 3,000 people died on that day, «and about thousand more in the days that followed, to the dust and toxins that spread from the collapse of the Twin Towers.»

He added that not just citizens of the United States died, but also «people of over 70 different nationalities, of different faiths and cultures.»

«While many sought to escape impending death, hundreds of others ran towards the danger to help the victims,» the priest stated. «They gave their lives to save other lives. They were convinced this was the right thing to do and they were ready to do it.

«The sacrifice of the firefighters of New York and of others who acted like them remains a message of dazzling light on day of darkness.»

It is estimated that more than 400 first responders died on 9/11, including 343 members of the New York Fire Department.

Who won?

Father Lombardi lamented that in 2001, the «new millennium that had just begun didn’t turn out then to be a time of peace but — once again — a time in which hate wanted to show its power.»

And 10 years later, he added, «war still exists and no problems have been finally resolved. Osama Bin Laden, the agent, has been killed but it’s not likely that terrorism will end for that.»

Yet, he continued, despite the tragedy of 9/11, hate was not the primary response: «And how much commitment of compassion, of service, of prayer; how much desire for understanding, for dialogue and for peace followed, in discrete but very concrete forms, on the part of those who at the time didn’t get carried away by desperation and the desire for revenge!

«How much hate but also how much love! Which one prevailed? Which one prevails? Which one will prevail?»

«We who are inspired in God’s name,» Father Lombardi added, «want all worshippers of God to draw once again from this memory the invincible will to serve life and peace.»

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