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September 11

Sep 11, 2012

A student once asked me, "What makes something sacred?"   I answered, "Something that includes memory as well as a transcendent experience.  Sacred involves a site, a moment in time, or an experience that expands human comprehension or intellect.  In other words, temporality is suspended in some form or another." The 9/11 attacks against the United States have transcended the eleventh of September in to a day of national consciousness, for  sacred stories, sacred memories, sacred sites, and sacred memorials.  The deaths of those who died in New York City, at Shanksville, Pa, at the Pentagon, and on the hijacked airplanes are now sacred moments in U.S. history.  Each person who died on that day remains as an imprint on the story of what it means to be an American. For many in the country "sacred" is a religious experience.  Prayer services are conducted throughout the country in support of those who continue a decade later with their healing journey. Healing in the human heart and mind must travel the road of grief giving way to the sacred.  But whether or not a person is a religious practitioner, the observance of 9/11 is a sacred moment. It remains painful and difficult to fully absorb the totality of what occurred on September 11, 2001.  But eleven years later, the nation pauses to lead the country in to sacred space in honor of the lives that were lost...and to remember. To remember the events on 9/11 conjures up the unthinkable, but the memory also strengthens what can be too easily forgotten in the busy and stressful culture of most who live in the U.S.  On this day a sense of what is sacred is expressed as people gather to reflect and hold one another close.  In the wave of human emotion, the value of human life and relationship serve as an anchor. Words are inept in conveying that which is sacred.  My explanation to the student was appropriate for an academic setting.  Better to simply say, September 11 is a sacred day.  

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