There is a wonderful article today from the Episcopal News Service speaking to the work of chaplains on September 11, 2001, and in the days after. You can read the article here.
As we remember that day ten years ago, we can remember those noted in the article, and so many more. Quite a few Episcopal chaplains and other clergy and lay ministers assisted in New York; while many of our colleagues in military chaplaincy assisted in both New York and Washington, and so many places around the world. I remember the late Mike Stewart, then Treasurer of the Assembly of Episcopal Healthcare Chaplains (AEHC), who served in the Office of the Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies (now the Bishop Suffragan of Federal Ministries) to coordinate efforts in New York and the Episcopal Church’s efforts at disaster response. I think of Peggy Muncie, who walked virtually the length of Manhattan for the opportunity to serve (and those of us who know Peggy have some idea of what that took). I think, too, of our colleagues in other traditions. After all, the first victim identified from the disaster was a New York Fire Department Chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge, a Roman Catholic priest and Franciscan friar. Many of us served as well in our own places, caring for the families of those lost and those affected; caring for our own frightened staff members and parishioners; and praying for God’s guidance in the midst of fear and grief and confusion.
In fact the Executive Committee of AEHC was scheduled to meet in New York on September 14 and 15. We talked and wrestled with what we should do, what duty required of us at that point. Ultimately, we did not meet, which relieved our own families (in my household the words "baseball bat" and "kneecap" came up in the same sentence). However, AEHC members played our parts in cooperating with the National Office in responding to these disasters, and preparing to respond to the next.
As we remember this anniversary through this weekend, may God grant that we humans of all creeds will be guided more and more to love neighbor as self; and when we fail, may God continue to call chaplains to step forward to care for the fearful and the suffering, and for those who serve their needs.