911: The First Anniversary

A New York City police officer clambered over debris from the World Trade Center Towers, felled like mighty trees by terrorists on September 11, 2001, to retrieve an American flag on a lone standing pole amid the smoking rubble. It soon became known as the Freedom Flag. Many of the New York victims' families signed the flag and included prayers. The U.S. Marines then transported this emblem of American sovereignty to Afghanistan and hoisted it above Kandahar airport, giving poignant backing to the most famous line penned upon it: "These Colors Don't Run."

Patriotism is back with a vengeance. Headway seems to be sure in the elusive "war on terrorism." But the deepest questions remain haunting for many, totally unresolved for some: How could an all-powerful, loving Creator--if one exists--allow such evil? How do the survivors deal with their losses? What were the perpetrators thinking? How could they act so callously in God's name? Since life has returned to a revised "normalcy" across the nation, many still wrestle with lingering doubts about the meaning of life and conflict. What is the best response to terrorism for ours or any nation? With all the bloodshed and suffering in the world, is hope a naive sentiment or can one truly transcend man's inhumanity to man and believe with sufficient assurance in a better afterlife? To most, the repetition of this horror is a foregone conclusion.

That raises the question, "Will we be ready?" We cannot speak to the logistical or physical security angle, but we do aim to make a contribution on the spiritual and intellectual side. Leadership University has been dealing with these very questions and many others during the past year. We now offer a compendium of resources from the intervening year's Special Focus collections as well as pertinent individual articles from our archives. We cover everything from the Just War doctrine to theological viewpoints on suffering and evil. We share a bit of insight into the tough but victorious life of Lisa Beamer, whose heroic husband became legendary for shouting, "Let's roll!" on the soon-to-be-downed airliner over Pennsylvania. We hope this look back and within proves compelling to you. We welcome your feedback.

—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe

Feature Anniversary Articles:

"Let's roll!"
World cover story
Lisa Beamer's odyssey through a year of recovery from the loss of her beloved husband, Todd, has been marked by multiple talkshow appearances and interviews. She's also seen her faith in the Person of Jesus Christ and her reliance on the Bible's promises provide peace and assurance. She tells of her very personal journey of faith, including background accounts of what happened that unforgettable September 11.

An anniversary we didn't want: Are we different people because of Sept. 11?
Politicians, preachers, and parents will all wrestle with the same question: How do you mark the anniversary of an event that never should have happened? Not just an event that's embarrassing or regrettable; but one that shook an entire nation, that scarred our collective consciousness and made us question our deepest assumptions.

Recent Special Focus Features Related to 911:


Terror in America

For once, it was the world's turn to look on as Americans suffered the horrible tragedy of a terrorist attack. When extremists hijacked occupied civilian airliners and turned them into huge bombs, they struck at our nation's heart, the very symbols of American military and economic power.

As we mourn the losses of so many--and the loss of our sense of security--deep questions nag us: Where is God? How could He allow this, if He truly exists? Is there meaning in evil and suffering? Where is the hope? Is this all there is, or is there promise for beyond the grave? For Christians, what is a Biblical response to terrorism? There is a power that transcends wealth and military strength in any tragedy. We see the image of God in the deeds of those who served and even died for others. But is that all we can hope for?

LeadershipU has collected a variety of resources to help bring perspective to the history-altering events of September 11, 2001. See the pages below for links that you can read, print and distribute and forward to others as we all come to grips with tragedy.

Courage at 36,000 Feet
Beth J. Lueders
Interview with Lisa Beamer, widow of a hijacked 9/11 hero. "Todd Beamer's now immortal words echo across the world: 'Are you ready? Let's roll.' Calmly, the 32-year-old software salesman ended his September 11 phone call to a GTE Airfone operator from United Flight 93."

Links to pages with links to yet more thoughtful resources:

How Could God Allow This?

Where is the Hope?

Dealing with Fear

Love Not Hate

A Permanent Solution

A Christian Viewpoint on Terrorism and the 9-11 Tragedy

 - The Nature of Islam
Since the murderous terrorism of September 11 and the subsequent war--seen by many Muslims as war on their religion--many Westerners have sought greater knowledge of Islam. Is it, as is now increasingly claimed, a religion of peace? What do Muslims believe, in general and in particular, regarding war and violence? How do these views compare with Christianity's? See our Special Focus...

Related Articles:

Onward Christian Soldiers? Christian Perspectives on War
Timothy J. Demy
What should be the Christian attitude and response to the death, destruction, and devastation caused by war?

The Paradox of War and Pacifism
Mark T. Clark
This article examines the paradox of war and pacifism in the Bible, where paradox means apparent contradiction. The examination includes a review of the major positions Christians have taken on the paradox historically, from that of pacifism, to qualified participation, to the crusade.

Related Sites:

911Remembrance.com--A collection of engaging "quick reads" and essays on a breadth of issues surrounding the September 11 attacks and the soul-searching issues such things evoke. Also features personal eyewitness accounts of that momentous day's events. Headings include Tough Issues, True Peace, The Journey and more.

CantCryHardEnough.com--In the interest of never forgetting the deep groanings of our hearts evoked by 911, we recommend this touchingly personal Flash! presentation site. It features a genuine-sounding song by the same title and well-done visuals. Be sure to see the pages: About and Update: One Year Later for some perspective from the creator. (And be sure to wait until the visual aspect of the presentation is completely finished.)

We would love to get your feedback on this special focus. Please tell us what you think.

Go here to see our past Special Focus features.