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In November 2002, my friend Colleen and I were at a meeting in DC when we decided to take the bullet train down to NYC for the day. We wanted to do two things: see a Broadway play on Broadway and visit the WTC site. We did end up seeing 42nd Street on 42nd Street but far and away the most moving point of the day for both of us was visiting the chapel mentioned in New York Region > Chapel Embraces Role as 9/11 Monument” href=””>this story.

The marks the rescue workers belts, and shoes, and tools made on the pews, were left there even after the cleanup of the chapel had begun. Those marks were a physical reminder of how the worst of human experiences could and did bring out the best of the human spirit. Those marks were left to remind us we are all marked by the events of 9/11.

Those scratches and gouges were a reminder of the goodness of the multitude, the cloud of witnesses, if you will, of volunteers and rescue personnel who stepped up to help their sisters and brothers. I believe in the goodness of the multitude. I believe in the cloud of witnesses.

I believe even when the world around is dark with the soot and ash of evil and the ongoing ravages of war; the dark of night and the dark of human depravity. I believe in the light. And I hope that one day we will see as our brothers and sisters all those around us who are hurting and hungry, cold and weary – no matter what language or culture or political viewpoint they may hold.

Like those pews were marked, so too, must have been all the people, the hundreds and hundreds who came through those chapel doors. And it seems to me, we are all marked by the choices we make to serve another, any other, along the way.

I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. –Deuteronomy 30:19-20

May 2004