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Creating Community Out of Chaos: A Bulletin Board for Unitarian Universalists Responding to September 11, 2001

This bulletin board is now closed but posts will remain online for your viewing.

This bulletin board was provided as a service to visitors to the UUA.org website. It was put together for people to share experiences and thoughts about the tragic events of September 11, 2001. People were allowed to submit a first-person reflection or report, a wish for a loved one, a wish for the United States, or a wish for others.

This board was moderated by a lay and clergy volunteer who moderated all submissions and if called for, provided referrals to other individuals or services where possible. This board was part of the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) public outreach ministry.

The content of this page was not approved by the UUA nor did it necessarily reflect the views, policies, or practices of the UUA. Posted materials not related to the purposes of this bulletin board may have been removed at the sole discretion of the bulletin board administrators. Deleted posts are not archived.

Lydia J Robertson

Response to September 11, in memory of my mother, Valerie Joan Hanna who died on the 97th floor of Tower One, September 11, 2001

About Valerie
By Lydia Robertson

She taught we children moral & polite behavior & table manners. She encouraged us to learn respect for each other & to talk about our anger rather than to fight & hit. It was a hard lesson. Hitting is so much easier than cooling off & sometimes the other little brat-full sibling seemed so deserving, so deceitful.

She spoke about the greatness of our country and she also spoke about policies, many policies she didn’t like. She wanted civil rights and equal right for ALL Americans and the vote for all Americans. Although she was a democrat, she would always drive anyone who needed to the polls. I remember sitting in the "way back" of the VW microbus and hearing an old bird say, "Why are you doing this? I know you are a democrat and I am a conservative republican." He called her a fool, but she said, "I don’t care how you vote, only that you do vote"

She saw a need she could fill and simply did it. She read that teenaged boys were impossible to place in foster homes. She took in teenaged boys. There is no sure count as to how many children actually came to live in her home; I lost count around 17. And she made each of us feel important.

Terrorism and the Community Response

My city, my community, my friends and my family pulled together BEFORE this tragedy and now even more so. We have always been a great city. Many outside may not have known it or understood that before. But the rest of the country & the world are finding it out. We are diverse & colorful. We are a city of the world.

The world was wounded when the trade center was hit. It is but a flesh wound in the grand scheme of things. I lost my mother, but if her murder can bring the world together the way it has brought this city and countless other places across this country and the world together, we will be better for it. I can be at peace knowing my mother died this way.

As I looked down at my 7 year old’s toothless smile it occurred to me that our front teeth have been knocked out and with them our innocence & naivete.

We are growing up. We have had a terrible loss but we can learn why so many are angry with us. We cannot ignore the world any more. If a small group of angry, sick fascists, can blow up a building in Oklahoma city and drive 767s into the world trade center we must begin to face and educate our selves as to why. These fascists take misguided American foreign policy & twist it into their own tool against us. It is important what we do next. We must not strike out in anger & for revenge. We must wait, cool down, think.

These men did not commit suicide against some American foreign policy. They WANT war with America. They WANT America to bomb Afghanistan into a dustier hell then it already is. They anticipate that, because, to them Afghani lives are unimportant; the Taliban makes that clear in its policies toward women among others.

No, what Osama Bin Laden & those like him want is to create a new generation of young men willing to die for their cause. And what makes young men more riled up than if their innocent families are bombed. If we play into their hands, if we bomb Afghanistan and there are heavy civilian casualties, then we are giving them the army of young terrorists they need. These men are no more Muslims than McViegh was Christian. Do not look at their faith for answers as to why this was done. It has nothing to do with it. Islam and Muslims are not the enemy. Christians and Christianity is not the enemy. Jews and Judaism is not the enemy. The enemy is the fascist who uses these faiths to disguise their true intentions. Chaos, power, absolute rule.

Do not use this tragedy as an excuse to hurt your neighbor, who may look Arab or dress as you may think and Arab might.

My mother would have us find another way to vent. Give blood to the Red Cross, but better yet, give platelets, twice a month for a year. Donate your time to something you would like to see made better. Give money to The Valerie Hanna/Sept. 11 Fund to help support research against biotechnology weapons and the terrible naturally occurring viruses that kill so effectively for which we have yet no antidote. (For more information contact Lydia at "Lydilove@onebox.com" or University of Texas, Medical Branch: UTMB Valerie Hanna/September 11th Fund)

Let us turn this into something positive in the name of my mom and all the others who died or gave their lives.

lydilove @ onebox.com
Mon Feb 11 15:46:12 EST 2002

Nancy

I'm thinking of those of you and many others who have no faces who have lost someone/s or are missing someone/s. Nancy

rnmontrn @ willinet
Thu Nov 8 18:02:31 EST 2001

Judy Gail

I guess I am looking for solace and comfort in this church. And I'm having a hard time finding it.

We are very possibly facing our ultimate destruction via biological or nuclear means—by a group of people who consider all non-Muslims infidels and worthy of destruction. I believe the Qu-ran or Koran, or whatever it is, states this.

This destructive rage is directed at us by people who have failed societies and aren't able to provide their people with basic living needs. By dictators in those societies who deflect criticism of their own failures to provide by funneling rage on the street to scapegoats: Israel and the United States. We give Egypt foreign aid to the tune of two billion dollars a year, and yet their government-controlled press allows daily incendiary anti-U.S. rantings. And this goes on for decades. This is the pablum little children are raised on. No wonder the insane hatred of us.

There is a feeling of Arab humiliation. Osama Bin Laden says the United States has been humiliating them for the last eighty years. I suppose a good part of that humiliation comes not from what we have done to them but what they have been unable to do for themselves: to achieve a European and American standard of living. So, for sure, envy is also behind these attacks on us. I heard that terrorists were overheard saying, "Watch the New York yuppies die." That said, of course, as the twin towers came down. Revealing words. Jealousy of their yuppiness. And I have heard it said that that in part is what behind the Muslim hatred of Israel, their modern, yuppie, New York lifestyle. It has been said that Israel has made a success out of the same desert that the Arabs have been unable to. And that may be galling.

In the New Yorker I have read that the U.S. attack may have been a maneuver of Osama Bin Laden's to foment civil wars in Muslim countries in order to overthrow "more moderate" governments there and replace them with radical Muslim states. Then his Medieval Islamic view of the world could be freely imposed on the entire Muslim world, a pan-Islam style of Taliban-enforced morality.

And yet in my home church and on this web site self-blame seems to prevail. Anguished appraisals of just where we might have gone wrong. And the espousing of nonviolence in the face of our possible imminent destruction. That was the advice that Gandhi gave to the Jews facing the concentration camps, just to go peacefully as a means of resistance! As one of our local newspaper columnists stated, (one whose conservative views usually drive me crazy) the pacifists say war never accomplished anything, World War II notwithstanding!

I expect this e-mail will meet with outraged responses, but I didn't invent these thoughts. These are just what I've culled from reading Newsweek, the New Yorker, etc.

It's not that I'm espousing violence either. But I also don't say it would never have a place. The truth is no one really knows what to do to stop all of this. But it sure does seem that leaving Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to their own devices over the last ten years wasn't a good idea, knowing full well what they were doing, with their mobilizing and training of thousands of terrorists and development of weapons of mass destruction. Look what that has wrought.

I want from my church more consolation when we could hardly need it more and less ill-directed blaming. Blameless we are not, but, please, let's not gloss over pull-out-all-the-stops Islamic brutality and rage, that more than anything else arises from their failed states.

purplishpansies @ yahoo.com
Mon Nov 5 09:26:07 EST 2001

Robert Carter

Is there any room at all in the UUA for people such as myself who believe that military action is sometimes necessary in a complex and messy world, particularly when dealing with someone like Bin Laden and others who would continue to seek harm against us regardless of whether we revised our foreign policy to make it more just and humane?

carterbob1 @ excite.com
Mon Oct 29 08:48:45 EST 2001

joel slater

I believe that as time passes our Faith will learn to look into the face of hatred, and become more and more comfortable with that visage, and so betray all of our principles

salome2us @ yahoo.com
Mon Oct 22 07:58:18 EDT 2001

Carolyn Murphy

Life's ever changing forces deeply remind me of how daily  existence exists with experiences shared, interpreted, and differentiated  often in the same moment. At such a horrific time, I once again feel the  century old struggle over war and peace, power, and what are we all  searching for during our time on this earth. This is a complex situation,  yet as a Taoist would say, "it is in the complexity that there is  simplicity. " This is by no means an effort to underestimate the impact of  such a horrific event. It is rather to ask some basic thoughts. As Robert  Fulgulm said, "All I ever learned I learned in Kindergarten." It is in  these statements that I seek to find healing words from the pain, gentle  thoughts to embrace the next day, and a strong sense of purpose to look  towards the future.

It is in the complexity that there is simplicity. This terrorist attack  was deliberate with terrorists who spent significant time understanding,  studying, learning, observing, and watching the people and systems of  behavior within the United States culture. These terrorists on September  11 led a guerrilla attack while escalating an unprecedented sense of fear  amongst people in the United States and abroad. They boarded the planes.  No one was able to detect any unusual, personality characteristics, and  convinced many that this would be a hijacking with the end being some sort  of ransom money. The terrorists had box knifes and razors. The United  States spends so much money on military operations and the like, and these  terrorists came on board with box knifes which resulted in horrific pain,  damage, and loss. On one end—the missiles, the guns, and warplanes, and  on the other—the box knife.

This last sentence makes me real nervous inside because I feel that they  have almost been studying and predicting the United States moves, and then  as if to say, "Do not underestimate our sense of power. To me this first  was a deliberate, psychological attach which manifested itself in massive  destruction and loss of human lives.

As we slowly approach each new day, I feel as individuals and together as  groups we need to rebuild our safety within ourselves and together in  groups. We are told that it is a global issue, yet at the sametime it is  an individual issue. It is global and individual at one and the same  moment. We need to secure our global security yet we also have to reclaim  our sense of personal safety, boundary, space, respect, and support  ourselves in strength and determination.

I feel very deeply that this issue of safety, boundaries, respect for  ourselves and one another is a substantial part of this situation. Which  brings to me the issue of education.

In this weeks ahead my hopes are that buildings will take the time to have  fire/emergency drills, to check their First Aid Kit, to put the emergency  numbers of Terrorist Hotline Numbers in a visible space, and to take the  time to notice who walks in the halls without quickly walking by.

I hope that as a community we continue to look at the role of education.  The United States needs an "Amnesty International" approach to track and  have people provide testimonials to potential terrorists, threats, and  terrorists. Education brings knowledge, power, awareness, and action.

The essence of life and desire for survival rests deeply inside us from  millions of years of evolution. We are blessed with multi-sensory systems  of thought, body, mind, spirit, and soul. This is our root. This root  will provide us guidance and support. Let's call on this root. This root  has been evolving for millions of years; let's claim and know our own  power during this incredibly challenging time.

cfmgreen @ hotmail.com
Sun Oct 21 10:51:09 EDT 2001

Carroll Webber, Jr.

I've just read a number of our UU submissions to this bulletin board.

Each one of them has had something useful, evidently heartfelt, and usually important (I thought) to say. Isn't there a connection between two apparently contrasting thoughts found in several of the submissions?

Some UUs have written to remind us of World War II, saying it was necessary to defeat fascisms by force of arms. Others have pointed to United States' high-consumption lifestylein an impoverished world, amounting to a greed that kills children and others in the Third World.

Isn't it likely that years-long neglect of problems suffered abroad was one of the major seeds that grew into World War II and that has fertilized a current "hate-America" movement as well? If "attention is not paid", et some point war in self-defense may come to be the lesser evil? Thus World War II and this current other "good war" have a justification, but a sorry justification arrived at by our inability to kick our addiction to affluence? Scandinavian countries give 7 or 8 times as much per capita to the poor of the South as the United States does. They were not attacked.

candetwo @ coastalnet.com
Sun Oct 14 11:21:02 EDT 2001

Robb Smith

Liberal Religion Is More Important Than Ever

As I research and try to understand Islam and its extremist cults, I see two tracks emerging, one historical and the other dealing with Islam in the modern world.

We obviously can't tolerate a religious fundamentalism from the dark ages that advocates mass murder and an endless war with non-believers. We have to take a firm stand against religious violence, whatever its origin. But to concentrate on the historically militant Islam—as many people are doing right now—is to ignore the efforts being made by Muslims here in America and elsewhere to bring their religion up to speed with today's global culture.

Christianity went through much of this process during the wars of religion in Europe, which ended in the mid-17th century. But it took the intellectual ferment of the American revolution to create the cultural matrix that supported the Unitarian break with Congregationalism and the Church of England, and it took nearly two more centuries before Unitarian Universalism could flourish. Islam has yet to undergo anything remotely like this long historical process.

Muslims who seek an understanding that takes the modern world into account face strong and sometimes violent opposition from extreme fundamentalists. But Muslims are trying. Simply insisting on the definition of "Islam" as "peace" rather than the more traditional "surrender" is a good start, and much more can be accomplished by people of good will.

Can we actively support those Muslims who are striving to understand their religion in contemporary terms and to develop meanings that work for people living in a high-tech, global society? I don't know how we can help facilitate their evolutionary process, but for the sake of world peace, Islam has to go through it, and there's not much time.

As UUs, we have lots of practical experience with both the responsible search for truth and meaning and the practice of religious toleration. If UUs and Muslims look at the problem together, we may come up with ways to help.

For example, my understanding is that the "fatwa" (a religious interpretation) issued by the religious scholars ("ulema") in answer to a question is the principal way Muslims clarify religious issues. Couldn't one or more of the leading Muslim clerics issue a fatwa or two condemning bin Laden's interpretations of the Koran and moving toward a more liberal Islamic vision? Could the UUA request a fatwa, and if so, from whom?

In an article distributed by Newhouse News Service, Aly R. Abuzaakouk, executive director of the Washington-based American Muslim Council, was quoted as saying, "The general body of the Muslim people and international scholars have condemned the attacks on America and consider it a crime. If Mr. bin Laden considers otherwise, it just reinforces the idea that he has no right to represent Islam or speak for Islam....The 6,000 or more of our fellow American citizens of all faiths that were victims of this heinous crime are all innocent victims. It's as if the people who did this, and I think it's bin laden and al-Qaida, have killed all of humanity 6,000 times."

Statements like that can make a difference. Framed in the form of a fatwa, could opinions like his move a whole culture forward? Thoughtful and responsible voices are getting lost in all the war propaganda that's flooding our media. At the very least, let's look for ways to support those Muslims who have the courage to engage in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. And let's look for ways to get our message out, because our liberal response to religious issues is a voice of sanity in a troubled world.

robbs100 @ cs.com
Sun Oct 14 11:05:24 EDT 2001

Ed Selby

A Holy War?

Contrary to the views of the majority of UUs, I, like David, support the President's actions against the Afghan government. I think it is the right thing to do. Yes, people will die. Yes, some of the people who will die will be civilians. This is the cost of the freedom and liberty our country stands for and the freedom and liberty that others long for. That is what war is all about, and this is not a war that we started (contrary to too many, the USA is not to blame). It is a war that was brought to us, one in which 5800 innocent people have already died without us firing one shot.

I am concerned, however, with the new fashionable patriotism—a patriotism that is often as corrupt and vile as the brand of Islam the Taliban enforces.

The "Greatest Generation"—the generation of my grandfathers who fought the Nazis and the Japanese, the generation of my grandmothers who pulled together at home to conserve and ration resources to aid their husbands overseas—also led to the internment of Americans who just happened to be of Japanese ancestry while blonde haired blue eyed people of Teutonic ancestry went about business as usual. The G2 also brought us McCarthyism, the House Un American Activities investigations, the "Commie under every bed" anxiety, segregation, etc.

This new-found patriotism, while it serves to bring the country together, to unite us in ways only our grandparents could imaging, to put aside racial and social differences for a time, has already begun to scare me.

I hear talk of the "enemies of America" in reference to college demonstrations being held in opposition of military action. I have read of "the evil that is Islam" from otherwise intelligent pundits whose opinions and views I have respected. I hear Ashcroft (a man whose work history shows he is no fan of civil liberties) whipping Americans up into a paranoid frenzy of fear of retribution once our military swings into action. The CIA and FBI and NSA want to unleash an email monitoring system that will give them access to our messages in the name of national security. A-G Ashcroft's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), Sen. Leahy's Uniting and Strengthening of America Act (USAA), Rep. Smith's Public Safety and Cyber Security Enhancement Act (PSCSEA, H.R. 2915), Sen. Hatch's Combating Terrorism Act (CTA, amendment S.A. 1562 to bill H.R. 2500), and Sen. Graham's Intelligence to Prevent Terrorism Act (IPTA, S. 1448) all seek to expand wiretap capabilities—all in the name of security and the War on Terrorism.

I don't want the zealots who declared war on us to get away with it. I want punishment meted out to them; however, losing everything our country has stood for, everything our Flag represents, in the name of security is more repugnant to me. If we kill all of the terrorists in the world, but lose the ability to enjoy the free speech, assembly... well, then the terrorists win..

ed @ eselby.com
Thu Oct 11 18:29:13 EDT 2001

Erin O'Neill

I was raised a UU and consider myself agnostic. I have not been to church in years and with the tragedy I feel a need to return to my religion, but haven't yet. I never have concerned myself with what theists think of me or my religion, but lately I have felt very outcast by society. Especially with our president being a deeply religious Christian and "God Bless America" played everywhere. To some extent I feel "UnAmerican" lately. I do not know how to express my grief and sorrow except to compromise myself and my beliefs to "join the crowd." I cannot donate money because I have none to give. I wish I did. I have been told that blood donations are no longer an issue. I fly a flag, but not to support the military action, instead to honor those who were killed. I am not overly patriotic. Surely there are others who feel the same. What can I do? How can we keep these issues from tearing our country apart? How do we keep this from becoming a Holy war? Because it has become an issue of "wonderful American Christians" against the "horrible muslim Terrorists." Whether we like it or not.

ee.oneill @ juno.com
Wed Oct 10 19:24:07 EDT 2001

Adrian DeVore

There are so many things that I can say about September 11th which would be difficult to put into words. I spent the first twenty-nine years of my life in the New York metropolitan area and the World Trade Center was a signifcant part of my life. I remember going through WTC complex over a thousand times and my parents even took me out for dinner at Windows on World Restaurant on my 16th birthday. Glorious times they were.

I first heard about the attacks when I was in my Garde Manger class when a classmate ran into the classroom in hysterics. Most of the class stepped into the dining area to listen to the radio for more information. When the announcer said that the WTC was destroyed by two airplanes, I just covered my mouth in deep horror. A major symbol of my lifetime was annilated.All of a sudden, the world of mise en place, seemed to be insignifcant.

School was dismissed early and I ran to a phone booth to immedately contact my parents who still lived in the New York area.

Although, I haven't lived in that part of the US in six years, it is still my hometown. I grew up there and those varying experinces helped me to evolve into the person that I am at the present. Despite all of the sterotypes that other people might have of New Yorkers being cynical and uncaring. That is not the case since we are pretty resillient population with a lot of faith to face anything that comes directly toward us. I have always known about it, but this recent tragedy took me to openly realize that no matter where I live, I am promoting myself to be a 100% proud New Yorker.

Most compellingly, 9/11/01 was touched me in a directly personal way, because I had a family friend who was working in the WTC at the time of the attacks and she (along with her co-workers)had to climb down 69 flights of stairs before the buildings exploded—she and everyone in their workplace were completely accounted for.I cannot even start to imagine what she went through to fight for survival, but I am glad she is a lucky person.

I don't know what else is going to happen next, since we are at a pointless war with Afghanistan where there will be no winners just losers. The concrete future that every American was assured of is not there anymore nor will it be coming back. We now live in ultra-uncertain times.

nancylula @ excite.com
Mon Oct 8 20:54:59 EDT 2001

David R. Burwasser

We must come to understand that our ocean buffers are today no wider than a line on a map between, say, Germany and Poland. What we do in an age of light-speed communications is as visible to the rest of the world as those kids in the streets of Palestine were visible to us, dancing in glee at the news of our agony.

Those cruel kids covered up the fact of hundreds of individual Palestinians coming to our embassy there to express condolences, some to leave flowers.

Americans who abuse their Moslem, Arab or "Eastern-looking" neighbors cover up the rest of us, when America is viewed from Moslem countries overseas.

And this can have a real effect on the future. We need the cooperation of Moslem governments overseas to deal with Osama bin Laden. Abuse of Arab Amricans is not just failure to come up to American ideals. It is giving aid and comfort to America's enemies in a time of war.

Here in Ohio a dispute around the anti-Semitic history of a Cleveland imam has led to the Cleveland chapter of Jewish Defense League calling for a boycott of local Arab-owned businesses.

I have sent a letter to the daily paper calling the Jewish Defense League unpatriotic.

This will mean crank phone calls, hate mail, vitriolic "agreement" with something I never said from people I want nothing to do with. Well, the President has said we must be prepared to make home-front sacrifices, and I pick that as mine before he picks one for me.

I commend the UUs who take direct action in support of their Moslem neighbors. I don't have the opportunity to do that. But we all can sound the alarm that American misbehavior in this time of crisis is directly linked to the pursuit of American resolution of that crisis.

I am grateful for the words of the minority on this bulletin board who recognize an act of war, and a state of war, that exist independently of our choosing, because that choice has been made by others. Our choice is how to prosecute that war. I am rather a minority in my own UU society on that point, and I greet my fellow minority members across the UUA.

daveburw @ apk.net
Sun Oct 7 07:40:08 EDT 2001

David McNaughton

Our hearts bleed for the United States after that appalling tragedy. I just cannot find words adequate to condemn such criminal action, and to convey the utmost contempt for its perpetrators and organisers.

For the American people, a long and extremely difficult battle lies ahead, requiring great courage and resolve. Unfortunately, it is hard to see how more sacrifices and suffering can be avoided. But I do
believe that Europe—and many other countries—will give you maximum support.

David McNaughton
Now living in Spain, formerly living in the United Arab Emirates

dlmcn @ yahoo.com
Sat Oct 6 22:43:23 EDT 2001

Bob Carter

While bread and butter, good diplomacy and an honest attempt to be fair-minded towards those who hold grievances against us are ideals worth pursuing in a much more sincere and energetic way than we have done in the past, such an approach will not be sufficient in and of itself to put an end to future acts of terrorism such as those that happened on September 11th. An absolute rejection of the use of force advocated by some Unitarian Universalists is inherently unrealistic. The Taliban along with Osama Bin Laden and his ilk are fanatical despots who may give lip service to the plight of the Palestinians and other people with grievances in the Middle East. However, Bin Laden, the Taliban and many others who are associated with the Al-Qaeda network have self-serving, totalitarian agendas and would care little or nothing about the gentle, humanitarian approach that some people say should be the only way in which we deal with what happened on September 11th. Bin Laden et.al. would do everything in their power to see that it does not reach the intended recipients. The world is not a neat and tidy place. Either/or approaches, whether advocated by knee-jerk hawks or pacifists, will not enable us to deal effectively with terrorism. Yes, we should revise economic and political policies which have alienated people in other countries. It is wrong to exploit others simply so that we can live a luxurious and materialistic lifestyle. However, what happened on September 11th was of such a magnitude and such a nature that it renders pacifist arguments hopelessly and dangerously naive.

carterbob1 @ excite.com
Sat Oct 6 22:36:35 EDT 2001

Nancy Evans

We finally know what it is like to experience the terror we have so often exported. Where is the dialogue on arms sales? environmental polution? world poverty? Our "corporation nation's" has been manupulating struggling workers and bad governments in countries all over the globe! bin Laden is certainly a bad guy, but we've trained his kind for decades. Please, let's stop singing Amazing Grace and try to focused on our countries actions and responsibilities.

uusfevans @ hotmail.com
Thu Oct 4 09:25:24 EDT 2001

Joan Bauer

I'm a Unitarian Universalist and a member of the First Unitarian (Universalist) Church of Philadelphia. I was 7 years old when Pearl Harbor happened. I remember my dad collected scrap metal it piled up in our driveway. I remember taking a dime to school to buy a stamp toward a war bond and air raid drills where we walked from our classrooms into halls and stood there in silence.

I can tell you where I was when the Kennedy brothers were killed and where I was the day the Rev. Martin Luther King was gunned down. I remember the horrible photographs of the effects of napalm on those who were innocent and considered our enemy—I still scrunch up when I see the photo of the young girl running naked down the road.

But nothing in my life prepared me for the planes flying into the two Towers and the Pentagon and into the ground in Pennsylvania and what I saw on TV and read. I am still partially numb and unbelieving of such hate and horror. Tears come to my eyes as I read about the people who died trying to save others and of the families who have lost loved ones and those who still wait to hear...

I struggle to get out of bed and go to work and I pray for the strength to not run from all the dying and the pain and the gray of the rubble that is etched in my mind.

I pray for all people and hope that love is stronger than hate and compassion is as life-affirming as justice and that we as Americans do not seek vengeance. There is no love in vengeance.

bauerj @ sas.upenn.edu
Tue Oct 2 17:23:51 EDT 2001

Emma Holbus

Today I read an article in The New York Times by Rick Bragg entitled, "Hatred of U.S. Burns in Pakistan's Biggest City." I also read reports that Ashcroft said "fresh terror attacks on America are likely and the risk of such strikes could increase as the United States retaliates for the aerial assaults on New York and Washington..."

I've been reading a book by Laurence G. Boldt, "Zen and the Art of Making a Living." A quote from his book:

Many today recognize the spiritual and cultural crisis that besets  modern civilization. They see the need for an alternative vision  of life to that given us by the dominant and increasingly global  commercial culture that seems hell-bent on turning everything and  everyone into a product for sale.

emma_holbus @ hotmail.com
Sun Sep 30 20:26:46 EDT 2001

Bernadette Burns

Having been injured 18 years ago in a terrorist attack in Israel, I have direct experience with the life altering after effects. I know that everyone is still focused both on the deadly attacks and the possible response by our country. I just wanted to be a voice about the survivors.

Those who died will be remembered and mourned. Those who died trying to help will be honored as heros. What will happen to those who were injured and survived? What will happen in 10 years or so when their bodies or minds are suffering from the long term consequences of the attacks? Americans have notoriously short term memories even when it comes to horrific events. Can anyone think of a name of an Oklahoma City bombing victim/survivor? How about Columbine? What has happened to the students who were maimed by attacks but survived?

I don't know the answers, I just hope that we as individuals and as a nation can take care of the survivors. Not just for the time that our emotions are still engaged by the terror. Not just for however long this event will be foremost in all our minds. We need to take care of them, somehow, forever.

drbearsong @ aol.com
Sun Sep 30 18:14:56 EDT 2001

John K.

The events of of 09-11-01 are testing my belief in nonviolent conflict resolution. The alleged criminals in this case also come from wealthy backgrounds, so the standard answer about the difference between the world's wealthy and the world's poor doesn't really seem to be relevant here. With the wealth at their disposal, could they not have bought TV and radio time to inform people in western countries about their grievances? Also there are protest movements in the United States that have taken up the cause of the Palestinans and withdrawl of US troops from overseas. What necessitated a resort to violence, especially involving noncombatants?

Also reading my favorite alternative newspaper, there is a call from the Dharma Fellowship to pursue "a nonviolent solution". I have yet to see anyone in the nonviolence community outline what a nonviolent response to 911 would be. Economic sanctions? Radio broadcasts making a direct appeal to the Afghan people?

johnkran @ yahoo.com
Sun Sep 30 15:39:28 EDT 2001

Marci Hope

I hope, in looking back, there is a tremendous effort to aid the victims and looking towards the future, I would like to pray hard for wisdom to occur in their behalf. I pray hard for education in forward directions of religious tolerance, as all of our lives have been so effected deeply by the ignorance and intolerance of intelligence, associating chaos and trauma with race, religion, dress, ability to ride camels, wear turbins, instead of war, genocide, migration, starvation, disease, religious discord, wherever such may occur. I pray for our leaders to guide and direct as in the past, the "counter terrorism" intelligence challenges people are on the brink of facing more universally. I also have experience living under "counter-terrorism" as many know, for about seven years in Manhattan, as many understand the difficulties involved in such breakdown of those not directly involved with what intelligence is seeking. This board is for healing, prayers, and best wishes!
for comfort, health, healing, love, and more. And yet everyone pretty much understands what counter intelligence breakdowns can do to previously healthy and upstanding people held to ferret out the unknown in case there is anything or any association significant to them. If we express prayers for the victims here and around the world, including the families of those in the WTC Towers from 88 nations, healing, aid, and prayers for the victims are priorities, and counter-intelligence precisely does the opposite. Pray.

marciah @ ev1.net
Sun Sep 30 09:57:19 EDT 2001

Mike Konoza

We, the members of the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) would like to thank all of you for the support you've been giving us since the Pentagon disaster on 9-11-2001. We've been waved at and honked at more than in my twenty years of the fire service. The candlelight vigils held at many intersections moved us as we responded by. A couple days after the disaster we ran a medical call in the middle of the night and as we brought the patient out of the house to the Medic Unit we were met by a crowd applauding and cheering us!

Now, the Washington Redskins will be dedicating to us their 1pm home game against Kansas City on Sunday, September 30, 2001. This is overwhelming. The New York Giants wore FDNY and NYPD hats to honor their public safety providers and played very well. We can only hope that the Redskins can do as well while wearing ACFD hats.

The true heros, however, are not those of us that responded to the emergencies—we were merely reactive, but those that thwarted the fourth plane from reaching it's destination—they were proactive.

We as UUs and Americans need to do what we can from here on out to prevent this from ever happening again. I wish the first three planes had not reached their destinations, but we can't change the past. Let's concentrate on the future by being proactive in our lives.

FireMedic Mike "Smokey" Konoza
Arlington County Fire Department
Pentagon Yellow Treatment Sector Officer
Accotink UUC

knoz @ erols.com
Sat Sep 29 15:37:55 EDT 2001

Ross

I've heard and read about many people preaching against retaliation for the terrorist attacks. Some even say the terrorists are "victims" of US foreign policy. Call me old fashion and not politically correct, but I see these terrorists as responsible for their own actions. These terrorist groups and the nations that harbor them must be held accountable for their actions. If the terrorists are not held accountable, what will keep them from attacking again, maybe with biological or chemical weapons? "Understanding them," "feeling their pain," or "leading by example" is not likely to stop them.

A sad fact of human nature is that people who want to be violent will be so unless punished or deterred. That is why we punish people who commit violence against people or property, instead of seeing them as "victims of society." What if Americans had not raised a finger against the Japanese Empire or the Nazis after Pearl Harbor? It is very likely we would be living in a dangerous world today were freedom and democracy would be in peril. The Japanese and Nazis were bent on conquest. Only by fighting them could they be stopped. The same has to be said about the Soviets. The threat of military retaliation is what deterred their expansionist goals.

I've heard some references to Mahatma Gandhi. But what would he have done if the Japanese had invaded and conquered India, which was in their plan of conquest?

As we proceed to bring Bin Laden and his thugs to justice, we must of course be vigilent in the protection of freedom. We must guard against hatred of Muslims and Arabs. I think for the most part America is a better society today, and with not repeat the shameful actions that befell Japanese-Americans in World War II.

Stand proud America!! Let freedom ring!!

singletrekkie @ yahoo.com
Sat Sep 29 00:04:53 EDT 2001

dick

Isn't this the first skirmish in the coming war between rich countries selfishly using up the world's natural resources at an unfair pace versus poor countries and people people who live in poverty. And shouldn't all UU's be on the side of the poor and downtrodden. Can we continue to Super size our meals, use up all the world's petroleum and leave the legacy of the coming war for our children. UU's should be leading the country toward a solution, not supporting our govenrment with its head in the sand.
No one wants to give up their comfortable lifestyle..........think about your grand children's future. Doesn't anybody else see what I see?

indy5dh @ aol.com
Fri Sep 28 20:48:29 EDT 2001

John Bostrom

the unspeakable vision

my son was in class at 8:45
two blocks from Ground Zero
when the class first felt the explosion
they laughed it's a bomb! ha ha
but then they saw everyone running
the blizzard of shredded paper
the smoke the panic outside
and joined the flight northward

Joey walked stunned for miles
all the way to Houston
then over to the FDR
and finally over the Williamsburg Bridge
to Rona's office in Brooklyn
she had just left to get home
before they closed all the bridges
but he finally had a open phone
so at 1:30 I heard his voice

for five hours i'd waited for the networks
to start giving some information
about school closings, numbers to call,
what trains were running, what bridges open,
how can we find out if someone is safe?
but even the local stations
all based in NYC
had nothing to say but over and over
how our leaders would strike back
at the filthy scum who would do this
America Under Attack
make no mistake we'll fight back

and that kept on and on
till they got around
to how the planes were hijacked
and that kept them busy for hours
till finally they started to cover
the heroism of the rescuers
and how people could get help

I didn't know until Sunday
how deeply I'd gone under
after church we went to the park
for the memorial concert
and then a smaller ceremony
of friends who spoke of peace

then Thursday night the President
at the helm of Air Force One
took the nation on a ride
Who Attacked Us? he asked
Why Do They Hate Us? he cried
How Will We Win This War? he chanted
What Is Expected Of Us? he intoned
and drove the ship of state
everyone cheering behind him
head on through the sacred towers
of peace and forgiveness

the first act of the demon of war
is to put on the cloak of courage
patriotism and grief
and solemnly proclaim
there is nothing to fear but fear

so we nail shut the door of fear
pile all the furniture against the wall
and hold a big concert there
complete with candles and music
while the demons of anger and hate
and revenge and bloodlust and greed
and opportunism and power
enter the doors we've left open
and mingle among us solemnly
in their tailored suits and dresses
their uniforms and medals

and we take the stage to display
our virtuous griefstricken courage
our unswerving will to win this new war
proclaiming our fearless future
like the rich Pharisee in the temple
God on his side, in his pocket

while way in the back in the shadows
behind the very last pew
the poor slobs on their knees
are crying and shaking with terror
at the unspeakable vision:
a Christmas with millions of children
moaning for death's release
black pox blistering their bodies

please God disregard our arrogant
declaration of World War III
forgive our sorry human race
please please don't let it happen

jbostrom @ si.rr.com
Tue Sep 25 23:23:23 EDT 2001  (amended Thu, 4 Oct)

Dan Breslau

Elliot Stein asked whether being a UU precludes patriotism.

I ask whether being a patriot means allowing your country to do that which you believe to be morally wrong.

As a father, I take responsibility to guide my children's actions, that they may do the right thing.

As a patriot, I take responsibility to speak out to countrymen, that our country may be guided in the right direction.

dbreslau @ yahoo.com
Tue Sep 25 18:42:50 EDT 2001

Rev. Kendyl Gibbons

Minister's reflections at a wedding held in a time of great sadness

Jim and Frances, you come to be married in an unusual combination of    traditions, bringing a unique relationship, at an uncommon moment in    history. For ten years you have shared a relationship of evolving    commitment; you have struggled with difficult issues, and come in triumph    to a level of trust and devotion that even some marriages never achieve.    You told me that your decision to be married grew out a desire to celebrate   that process and to rejoice in your love for one another and its goodness,    even though the future is always uncertain. The tragic events of this    week, which must necessarily weigh upon all our hearts, even as we    celebrate with you, make us aware of how radically uncertain the future    indeed is, and how precious is the love that can give meaning to our lives    in the face of wanton cruelty and death.

The two of you bring together a blend of religious understandings, and I    can imagine no more appropriate day to observe, as we will do in a few    moments, the ritual from the Jewish tradition in which the wine glass is    crushed at the end of the ceremony. Many explanations have been given for    this custom; for me, the most persuasive one is this: our celebrations, no    matter how joyful and tender they are, always take place in the midst of    the destruction and pain of the world. By this ceremony, and your public    covenant of marriage, you offer hope—you ARE hope,—to all of us, that    love is stronger and greater and more true than what evil can do, and what    hate can do, and what death can do to us. Jim and Frances, it is no longer    just YOUR love. You have given it to all of us, lifted it up and made it a    holy sign of hope for all of us. You may not now squander it in private    quarrels, in selfish choices, in any littleness of heart or petty    willfulness. It is your duty to remember the day you were married and the    terrible week of which it was part; to know that you are witnesses and    symbols, in your devotion to each other and the joy you bring into the    world together, proclaiming that grief is not the end, and terror does not    have the final word; proclaiming the triumph of life.

This is a large assignment, but I believe that you, and your love, are    equal to it. And whether we know it or not, whether or not history banners    it across our wedding days, it is also the assignment of every couple who    comes, in the high faith of love, to make the sacred promise of marriage.    Every one of us is a sign of hope and a witness to the world of the final    victory of the human heart over evil and pain. Today you carry this light    for us; may it shine for you and for all who know you, down the path of the    years to come. And now I summon you, here in the presence of your family    and friends, and in this fateful moment, to speak the words of your    covenant with one another.

uukendyl @ interaccess.com
Mon Sep 24 18:18:33 EDT 2001

Kelly Hawkins

I came up with this cheezy ditty after reading this website. It's corny, but heart felt.

"Proud to be a Unitarian,
because in Freedom we believe,
and I won't forget the people who strive
to defend that right for ALL
and I'll proudly stand up, next to you
and declare my faith today
because there ain't no doubt
I love this church
Goddess bless the UUA. "

plantfood @ bigfoot.com
Mon Sep 24 18:13:54 EDT 2001

Betty Vos

Danse Macabre

Perhaps it was a dance—
twin jumbo jets
soaring through space,
keeping their grisly appointment
with twin towers,
orange fireballs billowing,
plumes of black smoke ascending,
arcs of twisted steel plunging
and then
the sudden vertical drop
of a hundred stories,
twice.

But I have seen
two dances
yet more chilling:
Palestinians
dancing for joy
because Americans have died
and
American citizens
circled in rageful dance
outside a U.S. mosque,
seeds of the next
danse macabre.

Betty Vos
Virginia, MN
September 14, 2001

bvos98 @ yahoo.com
Mon Sep 24 14:18:49 EDT 2001

Robert Honea

On the night of Sept 10th, a friend submitted to the challenge, proposed by his friends, to overcome his confusions by committing to bring forth a song by the night of Sept 17th.

On Sept 11, his confusion was dissolved. There was only one experience to sing from, this is what he brought forth.

 CALL TO HONOR

Yesterday I learned
How a day can change a nation
How the earth stops its rotation
When the hatred reaches home.

And I stared in disbelief
As events unwound before me
Like the scenes from some odd movie
With destruction reaped and sown.

I’ve heard of candles in the wind
But this was like a hurricane
And every human felt the pain
Of heroes loved and lost.

And God, if there are angels,
Well, that day they worked overtime
And no amount of what they find
Will ever count the cost.

Refrain:
So I’ll grieve, and I’ll pray,
‘Cause that’s the most important thing to do today.
And tomorrow I will start
To heal my broken heart.

And now I feel the hatred, too,
Wild screams for retribution!
But if death is my solution, tell me
Whose voice is that I hear?

And everyone I talk to
Says he has the answer
But how’d she get the answer
If the question’s still unclear?

Some say to love my brother
While others say to seek revenge.
But whispers of our fallen friends
Echo songs of deeper peace.

And justice will prevail
When the world has lost its horror,
And all lives will stand in honor
Of the fighting that has ceased.

Refrain:
So we’ll grieve, and we’ll pray.
‘Cause that’s the most important thing to do today.
And tomorrow we’ll begin
To rebuild the world again.

Repeat Refrain:
So we’ll grieve, and we’ll pray.
‘Cause that’s the most important thing to do today.
And tomorrow we’ll begin
To rebuild the world within.

—Roth Herrlinger, 9/12/01, (c) 2001

This song can be heard on Roth's website.

Please share it.

bobhonea @ ix.netcom.com
Sun Sep 23 18:39:17 EDT 2001

Neal Carpenter

Our youngest son chose the U. S. Air Force Academy over Yale, Stanford, and a variety of other opportunities. He chooses to be a warrior. Nothing in our family background suggests that he was influenced one way or another about his life's work. While we are horrified at the risks, we recognize that warriors are integral to the human condition, if freedom is to be secure. It's sad that this is so. I stand with Bertran Russell's statement of long ago—more death and human suffering has been attributable to religious zealots than all other causes.

ncarpenter @ netwrx.net
Sun Sep 23 14:17:13 EDT 2001

Elliot Stein

I am amazed that although the UUA has lamented the tragedy in New York/ Pennsylvania/Washington and called for peace and understanding that there have been no calls to support our President and the elected officials of our government. It is curious that well over 90% of Americans believe in the actions outlined by our President and Congress. It is rare in American history that there is almost unanimous consensous among our legislators concerning our countries actions. Does being a UU preclude patriotism? Are we so committed to "peace" that we ignore that sometimes people must fight, and die, to preserve their freedom and liberty. Have we embraced left wing "liberal" ideology such that there cannot be heard UU voices saying "God Bless America". I have heard no UU's saying they are proud to be Americans and cherish our country and stand united behind our government in this time of horrible crisis. I find this deeply regrettable and an unfortunate reflection on the UU movement and its domination by left wing idealogues.

eliotstein @ msn.com
Sat Sep 22 17:30:46 EDT 2001

David Schleicher

Here is a responsive reading I wrote for the September 16, 2001 Sunday service of the Unitarian Fellowship in Waco, Texas. I hope you find it of some comfort—David Schleicher

READER: We are outraged and demand vengeance.

RESPONSE: We are stunned into silence and need to be comforted.

READER: They dare attack our country. They are evil and we are good.

RESPONSE: We feel no shame for patriotism, but will not let it blind us to our own faults.

READER: We despise evil’s lack of shame.

RESPONSE: We are awed by the world’s outpouring of sympathy.

READER: Religion and faith in the human spirit have failed us.

RESPONSE: Religion and faith in the human spirit will sustain us.

READER: We are numb and unable to go on.

RESPONSE: Ours eyes are opened to the pettiness of everyday worries that had bound us.

READER: I weep at the loss.

RESPONSE: We will weep together.

READER: No good can come of this.

RESPONSE: We will make good come of this.

ALL: We will reclaim, rebuild, and restore. Life will go on.

wacotexas @ hot.rr.com
Sat Sep 22 16:46:33 EDT 2001

Jeffrey Trunzer

My Heart Is Sad

My heart is sad; so sad.

To think of war;
To think of death;
To think of everyone;
becoming food
for worms.

To see my leaders
talk of being God,
of fighting back,
of saying our country
is the best;
in the all the world.

To have us;
full of hate,
full of vengeance,
full of lies.

To now kill our spirit,
our happy life,
and our trust in others;
is too much for me to bear.

I now wait,
and call out
for us all to be
in peace again.

Maybe sometime;
Maybe never;
we will stop fighting
to make our heaven
and to call others our hell.

Jeffrey Trunzer
Idaho Falls UU Fellowship

trunzida @ aol.com
Sat Sep 22 10:59:36 EDT 2001

Gila Jones

I've been thinking about the recent attacks on people thought to be Muslims and the fear many U.S. Muslims have of being attacked.

There's a story (not true, apparently) that during WWII many Danish people wore yellow stars on their clothing so that no citizen would seem different from any other. I wonder—should we be doing something like this in this country in solidarity with American Muslims and Arab-Americans? Should we put on head scarves and turbans in order to say to would-be tormentors, "We are all alike regardless of what we wear?"

One of the things that angers me is that the blasphemers who committed these terrible acts have inflicted much pain on those who they ought to consider their brethren—the Moslems and ethnic Arabs who live in the West. Maybe we really ought to don Muslim-like or Sikh-like dress to show the world that we won't allow these blasphemers to force us to their own level—that we won't participate in their game of hatred against an ethnic group.

I've gone so far as to try to figure out how to wear the scarves that Muslim women wear—there's a web page that tells how.

What do others think? Should we start a grass-roots movement?

gilajones @ home.com
Fri Sep 21 23:27:15 EDT 2001

Renee

I have spent a lot of time trying to think about and sort things out, and have searched the internet for articles to help me clarify my own thoughts and feelings. I found a really illuminating article in the online version of Tikkun magazine that I thought some people here might find useful as well. The article is "where does this violence come from?" and I am including the link here. If the link doesn't work for some reason, you could just go to www.tikkun.org and search for it. The article is by Michael Lerner.

mom2spirited2 @ yahoo.com
Fri Sep 21 20:04:50 EDT 2001

Jackie Ziegler

A Public Declaration of Non-violent Support

The below listed Unitarian Universalists of Boulder County, along with other  religious peoples of goodwill, are sickened, horrified and deeply grieved by  the terrorist events of Tuesday, September 11, and the resulting human  tragedy. We stand in solidarity with the rest of the nation in condemning  this terrorist act.

We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of  this tragedy, as well as the community of firefighters and police officers  who lost their lives as they sought to help. We also extend our deepest  gratitude and abiding thanks to the countless volunteers working to rescue  any possible survivors of the tragedy.

Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote seven principles. Among the  spiritual principles that we affirm and promote are: the inherent worth and  dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations;  and the goal of a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.

We are aware that as grief turns to anger, there is a natural human tendency  to find someone to blame. We are concerned that in their grief, people may  direct their anger at innocent people in our country who have no connection  with Tuesday's tragic events. A person's skin color, religious beliefs, or  country of origin does not equate to agreement or involvement with the  horrific acts of Tuesday. We are especially concerned that anger will be  directed at people of Arab descent or people who are members of the Islamic  faith community. Though we understand how this could happen, we cannot  condone violence as an expression of anger.

Therefore, we want it to be known publicly that should we witness acts of  psychological and/or physical violence, intentional or unintentional,  against any innocent people, we will offer psychological, physical and  spiritual support, protection and refuge to those people. Let it be known  that we stand steadfast on our Unitarian Universalist principles and will  protect and defend, in non-violent ways, any innocent people in this country  who are the recipients of violence as a result of this kind of anger.

We invite other religious communities and people of goodwill to join our  stance. If you have already done so, know that we are proud to stand with  you.

In faith that the Spirit of Love is the greatest guide;

The Rev. Jacqueline Ziegler
As well as 130 signatories

Anyone who wants more information or is interested in signing this    declaration can call (303) 684-6834. We have a list of individuals who have    volunteered living space for anyone subjected to hate crimes or violence as    a result of the events on September 11. If you are in need of such support    or wish to offer living space call (303) 499-3255.

 

dj_ziegler @ email.msn.com
Fri Sep 21 19:58:07 EDT 2001

Robert Fuller

I first sent this as an email to some friends at Georgia Mountains UU    Church in Dahlonega on September 12. I resubmit it here with a couple of    typos cleaned up and an additional thought at the end:

Good and gentle people:

When the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, the immediate  reaction of many officials and newspersons was to speculate that it looked  like the work of "Islamic terrorists". When it turned out to be a  self-proclaimed Christian, I never once heard or read of his being called  a "Christian terrorist". He just became a terrorist.

This is a manifestation of ethnocentrism, the belief that our group,  however we define our group at the moment, is superior to all others.  Look at our culture: we vilify students at other schools or members of  other communities solely because we want to see "our" football team win.  Listen to the crowd at a Lumpkin County High School (the local school)  football game and notice how often you hear the term "White County trash"  (the neighboring county) if "we" are playing White County High School.  If, on the other hand, a local person does something disgusting, he will  most likely be called "trash" or "redneck" but not "Lumpkin County  redneck ".

So it is with religious labels. By attaching the religious name to  someone of a faith different than our own when that person does something  despicable, the implied message is that the belief system led to the  despicable act. The fact is that Islamism, the anti-Western, anti-globalization political movement withing the Islamic world, is a growing  movement, yet it is not representative of Islam. Muslims in Egypt and  Indonesia (with the world's largest Muslim population), for instance, are  generally much more moderate than Muslims in Afghanistan or Iran, who are  much more likely to be Islamists. I think it is a serious mistake to add "Muslim" or "Islamic" as an adjective to describe someone we don't like  because we truly have no idea what role, if any, religious faith may have  played in causing that person to commit a heinous act. Let's not imply  a cause and effect relationship by the injudicious use of religious labels.

Best regards,
Robert

rcfuller @ ngcsu.edu
Fri Sep 21 14:48:26 EDT 2001

Kit Lueder

September 11, 2001, Continued Again

For so long I must have been longing
For a world where I was belonging.
Now, chilled, I find my country besotten
With revenge against Usama bin Laden.

Still, it's time for a check on reality.
We need to cope with all this insanity.
He can't murder five thousand people
And expect us to pretend it's business as usual.

It is looking like a given fact
That we will retaliate, we must act.
What did he think, that we would cower,
With victims in Pentagon and twin inferno towers?

We have the power. We have the might.
We have the will to initiate this fight.
We shall proceed, though the going is tight.
But can we retain our reason and right?

I can't really say that our deterrent is credible.
Our track record against terrorists is pretty terrible.
But if our Government must face down this evil,
At least the President is surrounded by smart people.

kitdaddio @ aol.com
Thu Sep 20 13:39:27 EDT 2001

Ginnine Principe

Over and over again I hear the cry "I feel so helpless, I dont know what to do, so I gave blood" for others, "we continue to pray". What more can we ask of ourselves, what more can we give of ourselves than our tears, heart and blood? This is a truly American response. "I do not know you but I will offer you a pint of my blood".

Blessings to all of you. As we suffer together, so shall we heal together.
Blessed be....Ginnine

heavenlyresults @ hotmail.com
Thu Sep 20 09:08:20 EDT 2001

Sherri Cave Puchalsky

This is a document prepared by Rev. Sherri Cave Puchalsky, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and the Rev. Dr. David Wheeler, First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The two serve as co-presidents of the Wilshire Center Parish Clergy Association.

We, the undersigned members of the Wilshire Center Parish Clergy Association, offer our deepest sympathy to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks and their friends and families. We, along with so many people in the U.S. and around the world, grieve for the pain and fear that these attacks have brought.

As clergy of many faiths, serving one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse communities in the world, we bear a special concern for the people of our neighborhoods. Our diversity is a source of blessing, but we must all work together to meet the challenges that diversity brings us. In times of economic or political insecurity, human beings are often prone to suspect and lash out at one another.

We particularly offer our support to our brothers and sisters in the Islamic community. Sadly, we know the pain of seeing people pervert our cherished, life-affirming faiths in order to justify violence, oppression, or greed. We stand against any hatred, intolerance, or prejudice directed towards people from the Middle East and those who follow the Islamic faith. We call upon the people of our community to stand with us as well.

We also call upon our community, our nation, and especially our national leaders to search for truth and justice in the days ahead. In this time of fear and outrage, we must remember the difference between vengeance—the indiscriminate expression of our urge to strike back—and justice, which works to restore what can be restored, grieve what is lost, and build a more loving and secure future for all.

uurevsherri @ att.net
Wed Sep 19 23:32:46 EDT 2001

Dean Drake

As the rubble is slowly hauled away, and our shock is being replaced with more reasoned thought, two words keep being repeated: Why? and Choose. It is overly simplistic and false to say we were attacked because of our current administation's Mideast policies—planning for this mission began as long as five years ago, when Bill Clinton was President and the U.S. was leading the Mideast peace process. Having listened to all the experts, the best explaination I've heard is that the mutant form of Islam that is championed by Bin Laden is simply opposed to the ideas and ideals of the West. He wants our culture, including our beliefs of equal rights for all and the rule of law, out of his part of the world.

The second word is choose. Nations of the world, and peoples within those nations, are being asked to choose sides. The sides are not pro or anti American—the sides are pro or anti the ideas of the Enlightenment and the Reformation. What is happening in parts of the Muslim world is what happened in Europe from 1600—1800: a counter-reformation movement.

It is going to be particularly painful for many UU's to choose. Our Purposes and Principles and our ideals are an expression of the values of the Enlightenment and the Reformation. In fact, they are the very articulation of America's "civil religion." On the other hand, ever since the Viet Nam war, many UU's have focused only on what our nation has done wrong. It is very painful to have to choose to side with something you have been fighting against for decades.

The answers are not simple. I trust that the UU heritage of free inquiry and open debate will lead to an airing of these issues, and a better understanding for everyone. This is one issue that cannot be expressed in a sound-bite or a bumper sticker.

deanadrake @ hotmail.com
Wed Sep 19 12:24:55 EDT 2001

Paul Worhach

The Chrysalis Group, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley YRUU group, like the rest of the nation and the world, spent the better part of last Sunday morning reflecting, praying, meditating, and creating the following statement/prayer regarding the tragic events of the past week:

We started our Chrysalis Youth Group meeting Sunday September 16, 2001 by talking about the tragedies of last week and reflecting on what they have meant to us. We feel helpless, sad, angry, and upset.

We have a member of our group in Europe and wonder when she will be home. We have family members—grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends  in New York who are scared but safe. We have relatives and friends of Arab descent and the discrimination against them because of who they are must stop. We want to end the hate and the violence and the harassment. We have many draft age friends and we do not want them to be killed in a war.

We also feel lucky and happy to be alive. It was a big relief to hear from friends and family although we know not everyone was so lucky. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Here is what we plan to do:

  1. Take up a youth collection and send it to the Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee to support the Unitarian-Universalist Association's "New
    York City Humanitarian Relief Fund".
  2. Write letters and emails of support to UU Churches in New York City and to the UUA website.
  3. Stay close to family, friends, and our religious community.
  4. Pray, meditate, and talk to each other. We are not alone and neither are you.

Paul Worhach, UU Church of Berkeley, California
Tue Sep 18 17:43:54 EDT 2001

Rev. Judith Campabell

There are no words...we can not change what has happened. And asking why ...is all too clear and an exercise in futility. We know why.

That some were spared, and some died horribly is not Gods will, it is a tragic accident of location and airline schedules and the deranged machinations of a group of people who in the name of a perverted ideal have committed an unspeakable act...to all of us. None of us are spared. We ask ourselves, what did we do wrong? How could this happen to the greatest nation in the world? We have grown smug and complacent. We look for people on this side to blame for carelessness and a terrorist leader or group to attack. There are so many unanswered questions...that will remain unanswered. Now, today, we are too wounded to begin to heal...we are still uncovering...and re-covering our dead and our shattered dreams of invincibility. In one viciously effective strike, our naiveté is gone forever, and we stand with every other person and group of people who have been terrorized by another human being. Now we know. Undoubtedly we will retaliate some way...and  they will retaliate...or try to...and more tragedy will unfold in living dying color across our living rooms.

We have come together this morning to cry out our rage and our fear, and to give comfort to one another as we wonderful humans will always do in a crisis. We will speak and be silent together. We will light candles and we will weep and we will sing. We will share opportunities to help one another, here on the island, and wherever and however we can. It will never be enough...because we can't undo it or explain it. but because we have come together we can join our hears and minds in prayers for comfort and solace for those people who have died or who have lost a son or a daughter or a best friend or a spouse. We can not undo the evil that has happened here....but we can undertake to see that more and more good happens because of us....right here...on what ever scale we can manage.

We will over the time we have together, share silence, music, tears, prayers and personal thoughts, light candles...and hold each other and all the wounded people in our hearts. There will be more that we can do tomorrow and the next day...but this is what we can and must do now.

I will not turn the other cheek....but I will try to so fill the world with love and kindness that there is no room for evil.

Let us be more ready to share our wealth...on a national and international level. We must be a voice for justice and human dignity...and even if we don't actually do it ourselves, then we must give all of our support to those who dare and do speak out.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and the work of my hands be always acceptable in the sight of my fellow humans, and be a reflection of the divine light within us all. Namaste

I looked for seeds...l had acorns.....so symbolic...My husband picked and picked them...fewer we'll have to rake up in a few months. Take a little acorn as a symbol of how something small can become so very large. Each act of kindness or love that we perform or offer to another will send out its ripples to the end of the earth. If we all do it, if we all are kind to one another and give love whenever and how ever we can....I pray that the world will be so full of our ripples of loving kindness that there will be no room left for evil thinking and evil doing...and all people shall live as one people....because we don't really have a choice!

Amen, Blessed be.

revdocmom @ juno.com
Tue Sep 18 17:38:05 EDT 2001

Sherri J. Conyers

What can I do? I keep asking myself that, constantly, every waking moment.
I can't just sit here wringing my hands, and tears and prayers aren't
enough. I've given blood, I've been to services and prayer vigils, I've
hugged my husband and said "I love you." But the personal and the
emotional responses are not enough for me. I need to do something
positive, concrete, and specific. And UUism is for me a rational religion,
so I've been grinding the gears to think of something. Anyway, here's a
thought or two, for what it's worth.

  1. It's true there is / will be a Muslim backlash. There may also be some  ongoing boycotting of Muslim-owned businesses. So how about having a meal at in a Muslim-owned restaurant or making a point of buying something from a Muslim-owned business? It might keep help keep someone from losing their job or going bankrupt.
  2. Donate your tax return to the relief effort, if you can.
  3. Take the time to educate yourself about the roots of terrorism, if you  haven't already done so. I sure haven't, I'm sorry to say! Perhaps the UU Bookstore webpage could publish a bibliography on the subject.
  4. It seems to me that there is a characterization of this crisis  as a "clash of civilizations" after the book of the same name by  Samuel P. Huntingdon. I gather that one theme in the book (which I have not yet read) is that a conflict between the West and Islam  is inevitable, a kind of new crusade, if you will. I am very much afraid  that extremists of all stripes are going to try their best to make this  idea a self-fulfilling prophesy. I feel strongly that Unitarians have  a role to play here in promoting peaceful alternatives to this kind of  thought and action. But what, exactly?

Well, I should go. I hope this helps. It would sure help me to get some    concrete and specific suggestions from fellow UU's on what they are doing    to help.

Love to you all, Sherri

sconyers @ teleport.com
Tue Sep 18 17:30:06 EDT 2001

Elizabeth Terry

This is a simple and beautiful website forwarded to me by a friend in DC. It takes a couple of minutes to download, but it's worth the wait to see photos of people around the world marking last Tuesday's events.

This is a great web site with photos from around the world.

elizabeth.terry @ angelfire.com
Tue Sep 18 15:04:22 EDT 2001

Chris Testerman

There is a lesson to be learned here. It is almost forgotten here in Colorado from Columbine.

When I went to Columbine in the 90's all the signs were there, that something was not right. The divided culture of that high school is more than anyone will ever admit. We were teased, tortured, harassed and forced to leave the school because we did not fit in. We tried to tell everyone  how things were and every body said "There has always been pressure in highschool".

Not this kind of pressure, I saw many kids burst under the pressure. I saw a kid attack the principal, I saw kids lighting fires in the hallways, breaking windows, slashing tires. How much more of a signal did the community need? Well they got it.

And for a few days old friends called, people said "hello" and actually looked you in the face.

People held open doors for eachother and stopped at yellow lights. Neighbors stood in the street and talked to each other. Mothers hugged their children and fathers looked  through bedrooms, and sold their handguns in fear. People mourned, people wept, children gathered and held each other close. People came from miles around and mobbed the streets, buying stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs, ribbons, teddy bears. The stickers are fading, the flowers wilted, and the children are back at school. The dead are buried  deep into the earth. No amount of money, prayers, laws, revenge, anger, hate or time will ever bring them back. People are waving their flags now, praising the police and firemen now, counting their blessings and hugging their children. But for how long? Our eyes are open, our hearts are open, and our ears are open. How long before they become clogged with sitcoms, cell phones, chores and bills?

When will we no longer need to be "awakened"? When will we start to pay attention to our children, and the rest of the world?

When will we take responsibility for our actions, and begin to think about what we are doing?

Do not forget how we feel today. Carry that feeling in your heart and soul as long as you live. Pass it on to your friends, family and children. Do not forget what has happened today or yesterday, do not let it go.

This is how I am dealing with this, any comments please e-mail me. Thank you for this forum, and this freedom.

ctester @ uswest.com
Tue Sep 18 13:20:27 EDT 2001

Allen Smith

The current attacks against Muslims (and people thought to be Muslims    by the ignorant) are, quite rightly, being condemned by all of our    political leaders. Unfortunately, they have _failed_ to counter bias    against Islam in the US in general, which may well have contributed to    the success of the terrorist attacks by reducing the chance that    American Muslims would be, for instance, in the FBI. I speak of    everything from Sundays but not Fridays being days off, to politicians    claiming this is a "Christian nation". The terrorist attacks were    probably at least partially motivated by Muslim vs non-Muslim    intolerance (Bin Laden is upset at non-Muslims being present in Saudi    Arabia, and for that matter in the Middle East in general); it is not    right for us to respond similarly.

Unfortunately, we are moving in the opposite direction. For instance,    it seems reasonably certain that the current anti-privacy legislation  will    be used selectively to monitor Muslim (and other non-mainstream    groups, including many UUs, as we saw during the Vietnam War) groups    and violate the privacy of their members.

I suppose that I was not as shocked as many after the attacks, nor    felt as much "loss of innocence", because I _expected_ something like    this to happen, including negative and/or ineffective responses to    it like the above. I am glad that others had previously felt such    innocence—such lack of vulnerability—and wish it were still the    case.

easmith @ beatrice.rutgers.edu
Tue Sep 18 12:31:08 EDT 2001

Kit Lueder

September 11, 2001, Continued

I realize how this has upset me so.
I keep going to-and-fro...
The news: I want to know,
And yet I don't want to know.
Hide my head under a pillow.
Try to be calm, let it just flow.
I'm afraid of where this will go.
Another Vietnam, with nothing to show.
Can we again stoop that low?
Our course seems all too narrow.
Do we really want to follow?
Drag us in, our whole country in tow?

But this is too big for it to blow.
We certainly can't live with the status quo.
Are we ready to take on this foe?
Box him in, make him eat crow?
Or take him down, put him below?
Is this the opportunity for another hero?
Let the military shine in war's glow,
Chasing down terrorists in the Afghan snow?

Hello?
No.

kitdaddio @ aol.com
Tue Sep 18 11:21:29 EDT 2001

Jeff Chamberlain

I realized that I should have included the lyrics in this form in case people did not want to follow the link.

After a conversation with my 8-year old daughter, I wrote this song Friday morning. I performed it at my congregation, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson. The response was very positive, so I put it up on the web—lyrics and MP3. Please share this with anyone you wish.

"It wouldn't take very long," music and lyrics Jeff Chamberlin (Muusic), Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson, AZ

Thank you,

Jeff Chamberlain jchamberlain @ theriver.com
Tue Sep 18 11:20:23 EDT 2001

Rev. David M. Horst

Newsletter column—"Our children and youth need us"

The Rev. David M. Horst, MRE
First and Second Church in Boston

This past Sunday [September 16], at the beginning of our homecoming service, we lit our chalice in remembrance of those who died in the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. We also expressed our deep gratitude to the police, firefighters, medical personnel, and all the rescuers whose work continues.

Following the chalice lighting, I led the congregation in affirming our congregation as a community of learning and recognizing our religious education teachers and volunteers. I hesitated for a moment before I began the affirmation, however, wondering how we could possibly talk about anything else but the recent tragedy. Our feelings of grief and loss seemed all consuming.

Upon reflection, I realized that religious education for our children and youth is one of the critical responses we must make to the tragic events. Our world is changing dramatically; and we’re reminded most urgently that we, as a congregation, have a vital role to play in the lives of our children and youth. First, we must be a place of comfort and safekeeping. Second, we must give our children and youth the time and space to ask questions, talk, grieve, and pray. Third, we must guide them—even through our own tears—to make sense of the tragedy.

I spoke with the children at length about their feelings following our worship together in the sanctuary. Some spoke of their fears: I assured them that they were safe and well loved at church, home, school, and the larger community. Others spoke of their anger: I challenged them to channel their anger toward peace and justice, not bigotry or revenge. Most everyone expressed sadness: I shared their sadness and assured them that faith, hope, and love will always overcome despair.

Our liberal religious principles can help us all make sense of this tragedy and suggest how we might respond as a loving, justice-seeking people. Let me suggest that we help our children and youth articulate a religious and moral response beyond the facts, statistics, and horrifying images. When we talk with our children, perhaps our Unitarian Universalist precepts may guide us:

We believe that each and every person is important.
We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
We believe in caring for our planet earth, the home we share with all living things.

Parents, teachers, and all members of our congregation can help. Let us continue to love our children and youth and nurture their religious and moral growth. Especially now, in the face of violence and hate, our children and youth need us.

Peace, David

david @ fscboston.org
Tue Sep 18 11:19:39 EDT 2001

Randall S. Farrar

I'm not sure what to think, exactly, about these horrendous events, but it's along the lines of get the culprits, get us security, but get us understanding.

This was not an Arab crime, or a Muslim crime, but a crime of terrorism by people who have no respect for humanity or human dignity. There are such people in this country who claim to be patriotic Americans, but they are not. They are—like those who blew up the Trade Center— merely intolerant fools just as all terrorists are.

I think that although America has been savegely attacked and all of the patriotism which has been expressed is entirely appropriate, we should nevertheless consider ourselves citizens of the world and do whatever we can to bridge cultural barriers so that no sane person will ever want to say that the lunatic fringe of any of our societies is a part of any particular race, religion, culture, or ethnicity.

rsf @ mvn.net
Tue Sep 18 08:56:37 EDT 2001

Fran Tilgner

I can understand Nancy's (see posting Monday 9/17, 11:33 EDT) struggle with our First Principle. In light of these events, not to mention Oklahoma City, Pearl Harbor, the concentration camps and so on, it is tough to believe in anyone's Inherent Worth. However: It is more important now than ever to believe in the goodness of humanity. The people who did these awful things were tought to hate. They were not born that way. Now more than ever we need to redouble our convictions and our efforts. We need to teach respect for diversity. We need to show, by our example, that love is stronger than hate. Hate only begats hate. Of course it is far from easy to do that! In this past week I have gone from giving up on humankind to beginning to feel there is still hope. This UUA site has helped enormously. I am living in an area where there are no other UU's nearby. To be able to read other's thoughts has been a life saver. The clergy postings have been very comforting. I am a 6th generation Universalist. My mother tell a wonderful story from her childhood. When she was quite young her grandfather sat her on his knee one day and said to her, "Now Peggy, you remember, we go to the No Hell church!" Universal salvation, universal worth, universal dignity. These are the cornerstones of our faith. All our values, all the other Principles flow from our First and most important Principle. Please have faith, Nancy. Together we can make a difference. Without our First Principle there is no Justice, compassion or peace. Our First Principle is our foundation.

littletrailer @ pocketmail.com
Mon Sep 17 20:00:06 EDT 2001

Susan Owens

The events of last September 11 were beyond our worst nightmares—as members of our community, as Americans, as citizens of the world. Though we may someday know the exact number of those who died or were injured, we will never know the full impact of their loss to those alive today and to future generations.

As we moved from horror to horror, I am saddened to say that one of the things that disturbed me most was the email I received that day which finished with the statement "THIS is a WORLD whose attention MY GOD is trying to get."

I can do nothing personally to stop those who planned and executed this terrible travesty, nor can I do anything to bring back those who perished. However, I feel that I must speak out when directly confronted with a message I find almost as terrifying as the attacks themselves.

I don't profess to have any answers about God, other than that each person must find his or her own way, and that I believe there are many paths to the same destination. However, I cannot fathom a god that would try to "get the attention" of mankind, or any segment thereof, by destroying lives and property in some kind of supernatural reign of terror. Did the Jews need a wake-up call, and that is why we had the Holocaust? Did the natives of Africa need a reminder, and that is why we had slavery? Such interpretations of events we cannot otherwise explain only breed hatred and bigotry and fear!

I recently heard an essay that contained the following phrase: "The earth remembers the holy touch that lit the fuse to create the big bang." To me, this is one of the most profound and inspiring statements I have ever heard to explain what is ultimately unexplainable. And in a very real way, we are a result of that "holy touch," whether today we are the terrorist or the victim, the hunter or the hunted.

We do not need an external force, divine or otherwise, to whip our fears and prejudices and ignorance into a fury that destroys. But neither do we need an external force to unleash our tremendous power for good. The "holy touch" that started it all, in whatever way we choose to interpret it, has left an indelible mark within each of us—a small voice that, if we listen carefully, can guide us in compassion and love.

If God is trying to get our attention, I don't believe it is with catastrophe. The reminders of an ultimate Author are all around us, in the intricacy of a spider web, the beauty of a sunset, the trust in a baby's smile. These reminders know no national boundaries, no ethnic distinctions, no religious differences.

The days, weeks, and months ahead may be the most difficult we have ever known. In the effort to restore security to our nation and to identify and bring to account those responsible, it is likely that many innocent people will suffer. In our human imperfection, we will not find perfect solutions. And in our powerlessness, it is tempting to wish the wrath of a higher power on those we perceive as our enemies.

We don't need God to create disasters or to punish us or others for our transgressions. We've worked hard to perfect those techniques ourselves. September 11 was a horrific example of just how proficient we have become, but poverty, bigotry, environmental destruction, sickness, and despair go on every day, and most times we don't even notice.

Yes, at this time we need God—however each us may understand that word—very badly indeed. We need Him to remind us of our compassion; we need Her to quiet our fears, we need Him to give us moral courage for the times ahead, we need Her to help us comfort our children. Above all, we need God to help us value the beauty of this earth and every creature in it so that we can ultimately learn to live together in peace.

support @ wordsystems.com
Mon Sep 17 19:58:48 EDT 2001

Susan Caldwell

I would like to submit a prayer written by our Chaplain and DRE, Barbara Jarrell, and offered Tuesday evening, Sept. 11 at the candlelight prayer service here at All Souls UU Church in Shreveport, LA. The text of the prayer follows:

Prayer After the World Trade Center Bombing

by Chaplain Barbara Jarrell

(From the Prayer Service at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Tuesday evening, Sept. 11, 2001)

Please join me in the spirit of prayer.

Great Source of Life, Love and Healing—

Ground of our being—

We are gathered here in this evening hour with hearts that are heavy, with spirits bearing the weight of great sadness and concern.

We ache that so many lives have been lost. We grieve that so many families are mourning. Over the course of a single hour, innumerable things were changed forever by the actions of what may well be a comparable few.

Once again we must face our mortality. We are forced to recognize our vulnerability—not only to the ways of nature but also to the foolhardiness that regrettably seems to pervade the human race. We stand in the shoes that those in other lands have worn so many, many times. Yet we find ourselves in disbelief that it could happen to us. We are grateful for the sense of safety that we in America have enjoyed for so long. We give thanks for the comforts of our lives that are too easily taken for granted.

Mother, Father God, We are gathered here that we might mindfully calm the fearful, angry, and reactive stirrings of our thoughts, those stirrings that seem to overtake or at least overshadow our spirits in response to such terrible tragedy.

We come together to remind ourselves and each other that we must be of strong resolve to remain participants in the solutions that only love, care, understanding, and genuine communication can provide. Fill each of us with kind yet honest words, gentle but powerful deeds, responsible -still effective actions, simple but profound thoughts, and generous but not weak spirits that our land may lead the world to a more humane coexistence in this tiny web we all share.

Oh Great Mystery, We recognize that the gift of Life each of us has been given affords us the power of choice. You which art the Sum of Light and Truth, From the depths of our being, we seek support from All that is good and worthy that we might consistently choose not to be contributors in the fear, hate, greed, and violence that cause such unimaginable behavior. We pray, too, for the well being of those from other countries both here in the United States and abroad who now wait fearfully that misguided responses to these events may imperil them or their loved ones.

Here, now, we extend our intention and the co-creative capacity with which we are endowed to join with those around us in this place and those around the world who are tonight offering prayers of comfort and healing light to all who have already suffered and to all whose lives may be touched before this matter is resolved. We ask for the safety of men and women in the military, the government, emergency workers, and even civilians as the storms set in motion by this craziness play out.

We send our hope, our courage, and our unified sense of justice, compassion, fairness and peace to the leaders of this our nation so that they might, with clarity and deep understanding, select the roads this country will travel beyond this point.

We pray that one day there will be true peace all over the earth—and beyond—that every human may live to know the meaning and the feeling of freedom, honor, and respect.

If there is anything you would like to add, please feel free to do so at this time...
These things we pray toward the Highest Common Good. Amen

allsoulsuuchurch @ aol.com
Mon Sep 17 19:56:21 EDT 2001

Ellen Carvill

Giving up the First Principle of UUism seems to me to be the worst thing we can do.

We must take the time to understand where other people are coming from—especially before recklessly killing. Men with children and wives—and the money and experience to get decent jobs do not kill themselves over nothing. These people may have used methods that are "bad" but that does not mean that we can condemn them as "bad." They are motivated by the desire to make the world better—from their point of view. Take the time to listen to what Usama bin Ladin has written. Some of it you may not agree with, but can you not see the tragedies we have caused for his people? From the starvation and diseased children of Iraq to the unquestioning support of the war against the Palestians we as Americans violate our own principles of freedom, liberty, and self-determination whenever we interact with the Muslim world. I stand by the First Principle and continue to see all people as having worth and dignity.

My fears today are for the world. I cannot fly the US flag because I cannot support my government's actions. I am flying a world flag because right now I am more a world citizen than a US citizen. At church this past Sunday I discovered many others, who like me, want something else to fly. I propose we begin wearing and flying pictures of the Earth symbolizing our concern for all involved.

ecarvill @ westoverschool.org
Mon Sep 17 19:54:41 EDT 2001

Kit Lueder

September 11, 2001
Kit Lueder

This is something we didn't anticipate beforehand.
How can they so easily shatter our Wonderland?
All this hatred is too much to understand.
Their terror was delivered just as they planned.
We thought that weapons had been banned,
But they just used knives to gain the upper hand.
Four planes from three airports, co-opted by their band.
They must have thought they were doing something grand.
Proud twin towers reduced to glass and sand.
Many thousands dead at their command.
We don't even know what they demand?
How can this relate to their Holy Land?
We finally react so their acts don't expand.
Our President comes out, gives them a good reprimand.
The consequences are sad to comprehend.
We adopt their code, an Eye for an Eye, to the End...

kitdaddio @ aol.com
Mon Sep 17 11:34:09 EDT 2001

Nancy McDowell

I have always struggled with our First Principle and, in light of this past week's events, feel I can no longer support it as a principle of the UU faith or mine. In reality, we exist in a world where some cultures and people of violence condone hatred and evil as a way of life. I would like to see the UUA replace the First Principle with a more realistic and relevant statement pertaining to justice, compassion and promoting peace.

mcdnancyj @ aol.com
Mon Sep 17 11:33:27 EDT 2001

Gabriel Jaraba

From a spaniard, journalist and manging executive in the public TV network in Barcelona, Spain, Europe, and a proud spaniard Unitarian Universalist:

Hold on, sisters and brothers. You americans still are a beacon for us all. During the spanish civil war, you sent your Lincoln brigade to support our republic against fascism. Now we stand at your side. Those of us in our 50's resisted Franco dictatorship, we endured torture and prison in military prison under corrupt regime, and here we are, building a new democratic Spain in progress. You live in the homeland of freedom, so you will overcome. In the city of Barcelona, who showed to the world during the Olympic Games our love for freedom, peace and joy, citizens gathered this present days in front of parliament, city hall and government state palace in silence, trying to share your pain. We shall overcome, brothers and sisters; spaniards fought for freedom against fascism and now against terrorism and now we stand with you. Nouw in the city of Barcelona, some little chalices are flaming for you all. Freedom and justice for all.

gjaraba.k @ tvcatalunya
Mon Sep 17 11:32:48 EDT 2001

Lisa Cohen

Collective Grief

3 AM
Here I am lying in bed in the middle of the night
Tears rolling down my face
Unable to return to sleep
Thinking about the recent events
Still in a state of shock that something so huge has happened,
Yet strangely comforted in my grief knowing that practically everyone
In the country is going through something similar
I realize I am not alone although I feel alone.
Reminiscent of when President Kennedy was assassinated
And the whole country mourned
But now it's thousands who died
It's on the scale of major earthquake in a third world country
Will we ever feel safe again?
The event seems so far away and yet it is in our own backyards.
We are grieving for the loss of our innocence,
For our vulnerability
For the loss of friends and family
Collective grief
We should all stay home and cry.

9/13/01

lisajc @ mindspring.com
Mon Sep 17 10:22:14 EDT 2001

nikki honey

"Today, the Unicorns are flying!"

After Tuesday's tragedy, I had the opportunity to help with a project in my daughter's first grade class. There had been a special request from Senator Patty Murray to have the children write a note to the schoolchildren in New York, because they were feeling sad.

When presented with the task, some of the children wanted to know details. The teacher handled it well, explaining that the children should talk to their parents about that at home, but that the note was to make the children feel a little better because something sad had happened to them. What could we write?

One of the girls raised her hand: "Don't be sad—we are thinking about you" More children had ideas, and soon everyone was working thoughtfully on their note and drawings.

The little boy next to my daughter thought for a long time, and then wrote: "This is the saddest thing I have ever seen—I hope you are OK".

My daughter wrote: "Dear kids, I hope you are not so sad. Love."

She and her friend drew little people with bright purple bow ties, and gold and silver unicorns on their letters. Today, the Unicorns will fly from the children in Seattle to the children in New York, and hopefully deliver a glimmer of hope in the midst of their sorrow.

dennis_honey @ msn.com
Mon Sep 17 07:45:36 EDT 2001

Richard N. Platt, Jr.

In the days since the tragic events of 11 September, many thoughts and questions have passed through my mind. One of the more haunting is why anyone could be so consumed by hatred of the United States to carry out these monstrous acts. An old quotation from an early Puritan leader came to mind, one based on the Bible, but repeated in many forms since:

“For we must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill.
The eyes of all people are upon us,
so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken,
and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us,
we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”
—John Winthrop, 1630

Many messages have come through the media, including those passed on through the internet. There have been prayers and expressions of shock, disbelief, dismay, and anger; a whole range of emotions. Some have expressed the desire for revenge and some the hope that we will not respond with violence. All of these are natural and understandable reactions. One notable message that I have received more than once was written by a Canadian journalist, saying that the U.S. is a great country and a benevolent force in the world, but very much unappreciated by other countries, even those to whom we have given generous aid. This strikes a responsive chord among us, because of our belief that we are indeed a great country, we are a generous people, and we have spent a tremendous amount of blood and treasure to save the rest of the world from its own folly and have responded quickly to help in all sorts of crises and disasters. What’s wrong with the rest of the world that they don’t see this and appreciate it?

Actually, this has not been true. There has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and support from the rest of the world, as well as offers of aid. Still, there is a feeling among many Americans that we are not appreciated the way we should be.

Ever since our Puritan forefathers, we in America have long acted as if we believed that we are God’s Chosen People. We hold up the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as shining examples for the rest of the world. We are the Land of the Free, and other peoples should harken to our example, as a shining light for them to follow. Yes, we know that there are people out there who don’t like us, but that has to be because there is something wrong with them. We knew, on one level, that there are even those who hate us passionately, but it comes as a great shock to find out that someone out there hates us enough to perpetrate the outrages of Tuesday, the 11th of September. The scale and extent of the terrorist acts are overwhelming, and almost impossible to comprehend.

So, even though there are calls for action against the perpetrators, even for extensive military action, we have to ask ourselves what these will accomplish. To smash the terrorists and those who harbor them can be very satisfying to us, but will this end the cycle of violence? Will this not breed another cycle of violence? We can wipe out large groups of terrorists and their supporters, but others, radicalized by our violence, will rise to take their places. Yes, I suppose that we will have to do something, but it’s difficult to determine at this time what it should be, and additionlly because we still don’t know fully who the terrorists are and to what extent they received support.

In the long run, we will have to look within ourselves as a nation. What is it about how we speak and act that leads to hostility among others, even among some of those whom we look upon as friends? Is it this very pride of looking upon ourselves as having a special role in the world and that we should be looked up to? Do we really have a special role to play? Are we yet the shining city on the hill for all to see?

richard.platt.sm.55 @ aya.yale.edu
Mon Sep 17 07:41:59 EDT 2001

Anna Davis

My heart goes out to all the people who have so terribly suffered in the events of this past week. I want justice, but I'm not calling for retribution, because no more deaths can bring those lost back to life.

Those who perpetrated Tuesday's horrific crimes were not average people just going about making a life. Those people were people without hope. Hopelessness feeds nihlism which justifies more violence, because the cheap thrill of rage gives a desperately craved moment's distraction from endless dispair. I fear our government will use the recent tragedies to continue the cycle of hatred our financial-military system has sown the world around.

Our government asks how can we combat terrorism? I answer that we have to dismantle the argument that wins them support. When they say, "America is a cruel and inhumane giant who cannot be trusted," and we bomb villages, we have proven the terrorists point.

But if we sow hope instead of despair, we have a chance to move beyond the cycle of violence. There is a quote in the bible about making a place at our table for our enemies, so that they may become our friends.

I say we should mount a "ground war" against Afghani suffering. I would not have one iota of support go throught the Taliban, who would just steal it for themselves (as most foreign aid is lost to corruption.) I suggest we flood their borders with aid workers. We could send in our Army corps of engineers to rebuild bridges,roads, schools, hospitals, houses and farms. We should sweep and dig up the pernicious landmines. Dig wells for safe water. Send teachers of every discipline. Send doctors, nurses, medicines and supplies, and set up hospitals to provide care for the many people broken by wars and oppression there.

If we were to do such things, the Afghani and other peoples would answer the terrorists with statments such as, "The Americans just helped me get my crops harvested, and helped my son to walk. You terrorists are crazy! America is a nation full of great hearts, and never would I harm such a loving people." There would be no room for hatred in a heart full of gratitude and a full stomach.
And when we get done with Afghanistan, let's move on to other peoples our government has harmed. Let us make a place at our table, out of compassion, welcome, and amends. Our safety lies in others trust in us, and we have a lot to do to earn it.

annamdvs @ hotmail.com
Sun Sep 16 21:37:12 EDT 2001

John L. Kistler

There can be no doubt that this past week has been a difficult one for all of us. No one can have remained unaffected or unshaken by the shear magnitude of the losses suffered on the morning of September eleventh. Those tragic events of Tuesday morning, played and replayed on every news cast since they occurred, are so vivid, so terrible, that I think for many of us they are indelibly etched on our consciousness forever. We need only close our eyes and our minds project those scenes of devastation as accurately as any videotape or newscast ever could.

Many in the media, many national figures, have made the comment that this event, the destruction of the Trade Towers and the attack on The Pentagon, is one of those defining moments in history. It is one of those events that people will preface with the phrase: "Where were you when.....". Like: "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" Or "Where where you when Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon?" Or "Where were you when the Berlin wall came down?" Or "Where were you when the Oklahoma City bomb exploded?"

Yet I have a feeling that September 11th has the potential to become more than a "common punctuation mark" in the stories of our lives. I sense that it may prove to be the start of a new chapter in those stories, a new chapter for all of us. And if it is the start of a new chapter, how will that chapter read? Will it be one that chronicles the all too familiar human tale of escalating acts of vengence? Will it tell of the increase in religious, ethnic and cultural intolerance? Will it be a story about those hungry for power demagoging their way toward their goal? Will it tell of the excuses made for restricting human rights and freedoms in the name of security? In short will the theme of this new chapter be one of vengeance, fear and hatred?.... .Or will it tell the story of how a world was galvanized? How, after a tragic act of mindless violence, we humans finally began to recognize our commonality. Will this chapter perhaps tell of how religious and ethnic and national differences were put aside to find, fist justice, and then healing, in a world sorely in need of both? Will it report that, awakened from our self-absorbed, at times even selfish lives, we sought security and peace not only for people in 110 story high-rises, not only for citizens of wealthy industrial nations, not only for Christians or for Jews? But for everyone. For the whole of humanity. In short, will this new chapter be one of hope and of justice?

Fortunately this new chapter, if that is what it is to be, lies as yet unwritten. It can go either way, hope or hatred, justice or vengeance. No doubt it will contain elements of all these. But the question before us now is: what will be the over-arching theme in this new segment of the human story?

The answer really depends on us. For it seems that each American, in his or her own way, will write a portion of this new chapter. As we all begin to recover from this horrendous act of terrorism. As America seeks to find and punish those responsible. As our nation and the world formulate plans to prevent such deeds in the future. The rhetoric will continue to grow. Some of that rhetoric will be based on fear instead of reason, some on religious hatred instead of religious tolerance, some on blind revenge instead of lawful justice. So it seems that in the weeks and months ahead we each have an opportunity to write our own small but significant portion of this chapter. We can do this through our words of reason and hope, and by our responses to those the show neither.

So may we as individuals, as a nation, and as a world not only find healing and justice after this event, but may we also find the strength of will to transcend it into a better future.

John L. Kistler
President San Juan U.U. Fellowship, Farmington New Mexico

kistler @ cyberport.com
Sun Sep 16 17:41:30 EDT 2001

Vicki Dotson

From the 365 Tao, Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao; Meditation 179:War

Weapons are tools of ill omen
Wielded by the ignorant
If their uses is unavoidable
The wise act with restraint
The greatest sorrow is to be a veteran
Witness to the atrocities of humanity

If you hold a real weapon in your hand, you will feel its character strongly. It begs to be used. It is fearsome. Its only purpose is death, and this power is not just in the material from which it is made but also from the intention of its makers.

It is regrettable that weapons must sometimes be used, but occasionally, survival demands it. The wise go forth with weapons only as a last resort. They never rejoice in the skill of weapons nor do they glorify war.

When death, pain and destruction are visited upon what you hold to be most sacred, the spiritual price is devastating. What hurts more than one's own suffering is bearing witness to the suffering of others. The regret of seeing human beings at their worst and the sheer pain of not being able to help the victims can never be redeemed. If you go personally to war, you cross the line yourself. You sacrifice ideals for survival and the fury of killing. That alters you forever. That is why no one rushes to be a veteran. Think before you want to change so unalterably. The stakes are not merely one's life, but one's very humanity.

vdotson @ execpc.com
Sun Sep 16 17:39:16 EDT 2001

Eileen Foley

I am organizing a UU/Interfaith group to form a vigil at the Islam mosques in our community of Tucson, AZ. and would like to encourage other UU Congregations to take similar action of support for religious freedom and unity of human brother/sisterhood. Our community is also experiencing the need for escorts for women of the muslim faith, so that they can safely move about the world, grocery shopping and doing other day-to-day things. This is a way I believe Unitarian Universalist all over this country and the world can make a statement for peace and unity.

eifoley @ qwest.net
Sun Sep 16 17:03:48 EDT 2001

TomTurnipseed

An Eye for An Eye?

Four commercial airliners hi-jacked by suicidal terrorists and turned into weapons of mass destruction killed thousands of U.S. citizens at the World Trade Center In New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and aboard the planes. Why did such mass terrorism rend the fabric of America's innocence? When I saw the second airliner crash into the other World Trade Center tower on network television, my mind flashed back three weeks to a TV story from Hebron near Jerusalem in the "war zone" of the Israeli-Arab conflict. I remembered the sickening feeling I experienced when I saw elated Arab youths, who appeared to be about 10 to 14 years of age, as they cheered beneath picture posters of deceased Arabic suicide bombers. With tears in my eyes I told my wife that the youths said they couldn't wait to be old enough to become suicide bombers like the "martyrs" on the posters who had gone on to "paradise." With the sort of idolization and admiration that American youth reserve for sports heroes one of them said he wanted to die for his peoples' cause more than anything else because, "the Israelis are going to kill us all anyway."

From the great medieval Crusades of the "Christians" to slaughter the Arabs and capture the Holy City of Jerusalem from the "infidels," to the interminable bloody conflict over Jerusalem and "The Holy Land" between Jewish Israelis and Islamic Arabs, the senseless slaughter and madness continues.

Billions of U.S. tax dollars supply the sophisticated weaponry of the Israelis and the armed forces of Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt while the U. S. defense industry makes big profits. The U.S. dominated energy cartel uses Middle-Eastern conflict as an excuse to charge exorbitant prices to an energy dependent world and increase their revenues. If the U.S. declares war and attacks oil-producing Arabic countries in retaliation for the "Attack on America," the weapons industry will rake in even more profits, the energy industry will have an excuse to charge more for their products and the big media conglomerate's ratings and profits will soar over the coverage of the violence and carnage of war.

Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the "Attack on America", is the billionaire son of a former Saudi Arabian laborer who got rich doing construction business for the oil industry there. Bin Laden was recruited and trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to be a leader in fighting the Russians in the Afghanistan War. This area is vital to U.S. based energy interests because it is near the oil rich Caspian Sea area. Since then bin Laden claims to be totally disenchanted with the U.S. because of our support for Israel and our use of our military and economic power against Arabic people in places like Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza. Bin Laden has said that the taxpaying citizens of the U.S. who fund the destruction of Arabic people are not "innocents."

Many of our leaders who are calling for a "declaration of war" against "evil people" who perpetrated the terror "against America" are responding to the primal human folly of revenge that has caused more human suffering than anything. The real evil is to answer hatred with hatred and killing with killing. Whether we kill other human beings because of religion, nationality, race, ethnicity or whatever, the real evil is the notion that more killing is the answer. Like President Bush, our thoughts and prayers are with those who died from Tuesday's terrorism and their families and friends. As one who professes to pray to Jesus every morning in the oval office, I hope our President will heed the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount who said, "..it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" ..."but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

A few weeks ago at our Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina we were brought a message by a Middle East historian from the University of South Carolina. His topic was the Islamic claim to Jerusalem and he related how the Islamic religion recognizes Muhammad as the ultimate and the last great prophet. Other great prophets of Islam were Jewish leaders like Abraham and Solomon and Jesus. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad ascended to Heaven from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to join the other great prophets. Why can't this wonderful myth of inter-religious unity be employed by political and religious leaders as a building block for peace to end the longest and most bloody struggle in the history of modern civilization???

Rather than declaring war and continuing the escalation of "eye for an eye" killing why doesn't President Bush convene a peace conference in Jerusalem with all the leaders of the nations and religions involved. He could declare the biblical "New Jerusalem" and gather at the Temple Mount with these powerful leaders who always seem to call on the poor people to fight and die in the madness of mortal combat. We need to work harder than ever before for peace. We must convince our fellow human beings that there is no difference among people anywhere worth killing one more person over.

tturnipseed @ turnipseed.net
Sun Sep 16 17:03:01 EDT 2001

Don Elkins

My fears after Tuesday have multiplied. I—as always—come here, come to UUF for some solace, in search of some sanity and some compassion which I can always find. The posts I've seen here are reassuring. I'm a television reporter, and I've seen and heard too many scary things this week. I'm afraid of what will happen to those who practice Islam, I afraid of war, I'm afraid of the things I read in the nations newspapers, calling for war. I'm afraid of my own desire to see that happen, and afraid of the outcome. I'm mostly afraid of fearful men leading our nation, that they may decide danger warrants unleashing the military in the streets, increasing the powers of the FBI and CIA, turning our nation into something out of a science fiction story. I'm afraid of the hateful things I'm hearing from people like Jerry Falwell, who blamed the ACLU and People for the American Way for "bringing Gods wrath down on America." I fear for my freedom, and for my family's freedom. I hope the precepts and teachings I've learned through UU can help. I wish more people would apply those precepts—more people in a position of control and command. I don't know that prayer helps anything, ever. I'm not sure it would help now—I just hope our collective respect for life wins out in this situation. I also hope those who were directly affected by this are able to step past their fears, overcome their sadness, and avoid hatred—the true payload of those planes in New York.

grafx @ hotmail.com
Sun Sep 16 06:44:21 EDT 2001

Sally Becker

As a retired teacher, I was looking for a job and replied to an ad in the newspaper two months ago for airport security at CVG. The job changed on Tuesday because of the attack, nothing will be the same. Everything is different and everyone is afraid. It is inconceivable how this could happen and why it happened. The pressure,attitudes and rules have all changed.

sbecker @ fuse.net
Sat Sep 15 21:37:58 EDT 2001

Dennis Phillips

In looking over the posts so far, I was pleased to find many comments urging that the U.S. not respond to the "terrorism" with more senseless acts of violence. I was surprised, however, not to find comments concerning the great extent to which the U.S. has been the initiator of many senseless acts of violence in recent decades. My own list of situations in which the U.S. has acted as "terrorist" is probably longer than similar lists for many other UU's, as I would include the aggression against Yugoslavia, and the war against Iraq (which many UU's seem to find acceptable). But many would probably agree with me to include My Lai, Gulf of Tonkin, the Contra "war", the overthrow of Allende, the war in El Salvador, Guatemala, etc. Anyway, soon after the attack, I got an email from War Resister's League which included some similar thoughts... so I'm pasting it here below... for possible posting to this board:

As we write, Manhattan feels under siege, with all bridges, tunnels, and subways closed, and tens of thousands of people walking slowly north from Lower Manhattan. As we sit in our offices here at War Resisters League, our    most immediate thoughts are of the hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers who have lost their lives in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The day is clear, the sky is blue, but vast clouds billow over the ruins where so    many have died, including a great many rescue workers who were there when the final collapse occurred.

Of course we know our friends and co-workers in Washington D.C. have similar thoughts about the ordinary people who have been trapped in the parts of the Pentagon which were also struck by a jet. And we think of the innocent    passengers on the hi-jacked jets who were carried to their doom on this day. We do not know at this time from what source the attack came. We do know that Yasser Arafat has condemned the bombing. We hesitate to make an    extended analysis until more information is available but some things are clear. For the Bush Administration to talk of spending hundreds of billions on Star Wars is clearly the sham it was from the beginning, when terrorism can so easily strike through more routine means.

We urge Congress and George Bush that whatever response or policy the U.S. develops it will be clear that this nation will no longer target civilians, or accept any policy by any nation which targets civilians. This would mean    an end to the sanctions against Iraq, which have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. It would mean not only a condemnation of terrorism by Palestinians but also the policy of assassination against the    Palestinian leadership by Israel, and the ruthless repression of the Palestinian population and the continuing occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza.

The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in millions of deaths, from the historic tragedy of the Indochina war, through the funding of death squads in Central America and Colombia, to the sanctions and air strikes against Iraq. This nation is the largest supplier of "conventional weapons" in the world—and those weapons fuel the starkest kind of terrorism from Indonesia to Africa. The early policy of support for armed resistance in Afghanistan resulted in the victory of the Taliban—and the creation of Osama Bin Laden.

Other nations have also engaged in these policies. We have, in years past, condemned the actions of the Russian government in areas such as Chechnya, the violence on both sides in the Middle East, and in the Balkans. But our    nation must take responsibility for its own actions. Up until now we have felt safe within our borders. To wake on a clear cool day to find our largest city under siege reminds us that in a violent world, none are safe. Let us seek an end of the militarism which has characterized this nation for decades. Let us seek a world in which security is gained through disarmament, international cooperation, and social justice—not through escalation and retaliation. We condemn without reservation attacks such as those which occurred today, which strike at thousands of civilians—may these profound tragedies remind us of the impact U.S. policies have had on other civilians in other lands. We are particularly aware of the fear which many people of Middle Eastern descent, living in this country, may feel at this time and urge special consideration for this community.

We are one world. We shall live in a state of fear and terror or we shall move toward a future in which we seek peaceful alternatives to conflict and a more just distribution of the world's resources. As we mourn the many lives lost, our hearts call out for reconciliation, note.

This is not an official statement of the War Resisters League but was drafted immediately after the tragic events occurred. Signed and issued by the staff and Executive Committee of War Resisters League in the national    office, September 11, 2001.

Contact calls: WRL—212 / 228.0450 also David McReynolds, 212 / 674.7268

wowunupo @ harborside.com
Sat Sep 15 21:36:57 EDT 2001

rage against the dying of the light

In our time of grief, we light a flame of sharing,  the flame of ongoing life. In this time when we  search for understanding and serenity in the  face of loss, we light this sign of our quest for  truth, meaning and community.

To face the world's coldness, a chalice of warmth.
To face the world's terrors, a chalice of courage.
To face the world's turmoil, a chalice of peace. 
May its glow fill our spirits, our hearts, and our lives

Sat Sep 15 21:28:28 EDT 2001

Ruth A. Gyure

a colleague shared with me this quote by Booker T. Washington—and it touched me deeply. I'd like to share it with you:

"I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him."

I hope that as horrified and traumatized as we all are by recent events, we will keep this spiritual imperative in our minds and hearts

rgyure @ cloud9.net
Sat Sep 15 21:26:26 EDT 2001

Georgene & Dick Tarble

Listed below are some thoughts that crossed our minds while listening with a deep sadness.

A day of atonement
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
Things don't happen in a vacuum 
What is it that generated this awful hate?
Let us cast the mote from our own eye. 
It is said that one reaps what one sows. 
What Faith can make one lay down his life for another? 
G.B.Shaw said "Give a person an idea and he will die for it.
The Phoenix rises from the ashes. 
We can work to correct the injustices. Listen to the cries for help. 
It could have been a US citizen vis a vie Mc Vey. There are a large number if paramilitary and survivalists that hate our country every bit as much as some outside our country.

dtarble @ macnexus.org
Sat Sep 15 18:22:18 EDT 2001

Alicia Gray

I find solace looking at the first UU website and the comments of persons who have emailed in. I too have been deeply concerned by those completely ignorant of Middle East history who respond with anger and retribution saying we should "blow them away" supporting widespread violence that will only continue to come back to haunt us. One co-worker who aligns herself with the Christian faith said that very thing and made some negative anti-Arab comments. It feels lonely out there sometimes for those who feel differently, though several other co-workers did express concern for Arabs in this country who are frightened of retribution.

I don't want other innocent families to suffer the way our families have suffered, or the way that Arabic families have suffered from violence and terrorism in the Middle East, or Israeli families, and I don't understand those who wish us to retaliate in such an indescriminate way that would cause such suffering to others. I wish our country did not have the history it has of inbalance in its policies towards the Middle East that have contributed to hatred and resentment in the region. I grieve for our families who have suffered from terrorism as I do for families in nations worldwide who have suffered from such indescriminate acts of violence. I think the perpetrators need to be brought to justice and I have no mercy for them. But the innocent people of countries abroad, I don't want to see them experience what we're feeling now and what many of them have felt before. I hope we can respond in such a way as to break the chain of violence, not continue it, but given our past Middle East policies, I am fearful.

aliciagry @ earthlink.net
Sat Sep 15 17:56:29 EDT 2001

Sherry Peruzzi

Meg Riley suggested some excellent ideas for outreach to the Muslim and Arab-American communities. I have been e-mailing letters of support to all the Muslim organizations and communities I can find on the Internet.

This is the letter I am sending:

"I wanted to let you know that there are many Americans who abhor the fact that the Muslim community has been targeted for abuse and hate crimes as a result of the tragedy of September 11.
"Many of us do understand that the terrorists' interpretation of the Koran as permitting and even encouraging mass murder is extreme and flawed, and that their beliefs are not true Islam. The Prophet's message was one of peace and good works, not hate and destruction.

"That my religion differs from yours should make no difference in our caring and respect for one another. I wish you and all of your community peace and safety during this trying time.

"Sincerely,"

I invite you all to use or adapt any or all of this letter to send to Muslim faith communities. To find them, simply go to a search engine such as Google (www.google.com) and search on the word Muslim. Such messages will help to counterbalance the hate e-mail they are receiving.

At the risk of this being quite long, I would like to share one of the grateful replies I received—this one from the masjid (congregation) that worships in our building:

"The Muslim Community would like to thank you for your kind words of support. This has been a trying time for all Americans—Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. We, the Muslim Community, all over the United States of America, and around the world have been very distraught over the horrific events that took place on September 11, and in absolutely no way condone the murders of innocent men, women or children, be it American or elsewhere. Most Muslims have chosen the United States to live and raise their families because of the comfortable blanket of freedom which it provides for us to practice our religion openly and without persecution, as well as the opportunity to provide for our families with the vast opportunities to thrive.

"Islam does not propagate these types of acts nor do we accept them as Islamic behavior. We cringe at the idea that people would associate such abhorrent ideology as Islamic.

"We pray that all people share your views with regards to the recent events. Thanks again for your kind word of encouragement.

"May we all be guided to the straight path."

Sat Sep 15 17:16:51 EDT 2001

Dianne Dorlester

To Whom It May Concern:

How dare you.
How dare you strike with such unthinkable evil and destruction.
How dare you kill and wound so many you have never met nor seen. 
How dare you make our hearts ache and our souls weep. 
How dare you try to make us hate as you do. 
How dare you poison your children with your beliefs and inhumanity. 
How dare you force us to explain your cruelty to our children. 
How dare you make us question innocents who resemble you. 
How dare you proclaim to act in the name of your religion.

You have strengthened more than you have weakened.
Your actions have only served to unite us.
We have affirmed our belief that we are more alike than different. 
We will disarm you with our strength, compassion and renewed humanity.

You did not break our spirit.
You have not lessened our resolve.
You have made us profoundly proud of our leaders and ourselves. 
You have forced a campaign of worldwide goodness and compassion. 
You have not, and will not, succeed no matter your intent. 
But how dare you try.

Sincerely,
The Human Race

ddorlester @ hotmail.com
Sat Sep 15 17:09:10 EDT 2001

Marion E. Lyon

The following is an email message I have sent to family and friends. So many times things are happening in the world that seem to be too awful to accept and we feel powerless. But this is a democracy and we do have a voice and a vote.

I, personally, feel that I need to inform the leaders of our country that I cannot and will not support an action that is now being described as WW III. I believe that we need to enforce the laws. We need to seek out the destroyers and bring them to justice. We need law, and order and justice and liberty to prevail. Someone said today, "Let's bomb the Afghan and other poor middle eastern people with bread, clean water, medical help and social justice." That would do them and us far greater good than we can even imagine.

This is the 21st Century and it will be a criminal act for our country to repeat history, and respond to random savagery with blind and vengeful retaliation.

New times call for new solutions.

That is what I shall try to communicate to the leaders of our country and I have included some addresses and links to addresses so that you may let them know where you stand as all civilization teeters on this frightful brink of chaos.

  • President George Bush
    The Whitehouse
    Washington, DC 20500 
    tel 1-202-456-1414 fax 1-202-456-2461 
    president@whitehouse.gov 
  • Vice-President Dick Cheney
    The Whitehouse
    Washington, DC 20500
    tel 1-202-456-1414 fax 1-202-456-2461
    vice.president@whitehouse.gov 
  • Contact the White House
  • U.S. Senators
  • Find Your Representative

rmlyon @ gis.net
Sat Sep 15 15:27:13 EDT 2001

Mark

I work for a not for profit youth services organization headquartered in the 400 block of Fifth Ave. on Manhattan Island. My office is in Texas. We use a proprietary membership data base program. Late Monday afternoon, I had a problem that I decided would wait until the next day before calling the IT help desk. Then, the event happened. I put off calling the help desk until Friday. I have had a very unproductive week. I felt so bad about having to bother the help desk. I talked to someone who I think needed someone to talk to. Being in the IT industry, the second largest after finance in the WTC, the person I spoke to at the help desk has lost friends. I am so shaken. What may have taken a few days to fix may take weeks, but it seems so irrelevant to the larger suffering now; and healing and rebuilding in the future.

mcoomes @ hotmail.com
Sat Sep 15 11:19:06 EDT 2001

Tom Cole

While I am upset and horrified etc etc like most Americans;  I am also pleased to see Americans coming together. I have  experienced a lot of concern and unity in going to  two different meetings this week. I needed to go to these  meetings to hear people talk about this. Everyone where  I work is following this. It is sad, because this hatred  by extreme Muslims has been going on for so many years.  To see people happy about this is dreadful. To see people  blaming one another is dreadful. You can lead a horse to  water but you can't make him drink. By the same token you  can't get people to change their views. It would be nice  to see people change their minds about certain things  but I don't know if it will happen. I do see things  in a different light. The political events of the last few  years seem trivial by comparison. It is good to see  Americans getting behind Bush, regardless of their views of  his politics.

As leader of the world, an attack on the US is an attack on    the future of this planet. It is unfortunate that some people    refuse to see this.

We need to learn more about each other's religious views also.    This could be a way to achieve more unity.

tmcusa @ erols.com
Sat Sep 15 00:04:08 EDT 2001

Lee Lawrence

Here's a letter some folks at the UU Church of Berkeley wrote and sent to nenewspapers Tuesday. Blessed Be!

To the Editor:

We grieve for the loss of life and share the pain of the families of the victims in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania this Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The heroism of those who risked—and gave their lives to help others awes us. We also urge support for our fellow Arab Americans and Muslims in America, to protect them from prejudice and threats.

Hate cannot be conquered by more hate or revenge. Only love and compassion can conquer hate. We urge not vengeance out of rage, nor the militarization of our society out of fear, but further work towards the realization of a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. A just world, with more equal distribution of resources, and healing for the wrongs felt by others, is our only true shield of defense against terrorism. As we learn today how much we value peace, let us all become peace-makers.

Signed:

Members and ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley

leehelenalawrence @ yahoo.com
Fri Sep 14 23:22:44 EDT 2001

Rev. Meg Riley

Four Ways to Support Your Local Muslim and Arab-American Communities from the UUA Washington Office

September 20, 2001

The main activity which we are promoting for Unitarian Universalists right now, besides being kind to all people with whom you are in contact, and praying for us all, is specific outreach to your local Muslim and Arab-American communities. There will undoubtedly continue to be hate crimes perpetrated against individuals, mosques, and businesses which are Muslim or Arab related. Here are some ideas:

  1. Closely monitor your local media. Praise them when they do well, and hold them accountable when they use phrases like "Muslim terrorists" or use other irresponsible language. If they're really out of control, coordinate an interfaith meeting with the editorial board of your local paper. Let them know it's not just Muslims who are offended by anti-Muslim rhetoric, but other Americans as well.
  2. Reach out to Arab-Americans and Muslim folks in your midst. Call your local mosque to see what kind of support would feel helpful—perhaps an interfaith vigil outside while services are held on a Friday night, so that the risks of attacks will be lessened. If your minister is part of an interfaith council, take this matter of support to that body. If you did a "Stop the Hate" vigil or other events for tolerance, call together those networks of people to speak out. Brady Russell, field director at the Interfaith Alliance, could probably help you with your efforts—his phone number is 202-639-6370, and his email is BRussell@tialliance.org.

    I should tell you that, when Bill Sinkford and I visited the American Muslim Council yesterday, they were being swamped by hate mail ("KILL ALLAH!" one said, over and over for several pages, and I wondered, "Just how exactly would someone do THAT?") AMC leaders were amazingly happy about Bill's pastoral letter. So happy, in fact, that they sent it out to their entire list-serve. The American Sikh community also is feeling threatened right now, because they are also mistaken for Muslims. They have been in touch with our Boston office asking for support.
  3. Work specifically with your youth about how to speak up, how it feels not to, and how they might reach out to kids in their schools. High school youth always physicalize what their parents do linguistically, so much of the violence may take place among youth. Talk to your youth advisors about making this the topic of a youth group—role-playing how to interrupt nonviolently.
  4. When you can't sleep, go online and enter a chat room. Many online chatters are exhibiting hatred and despair, calling for revenge, and supporting retaliation against Arabs. As UUs, speak out for compassion, reason, forgiveness, and hope.

uuawo @ uua.org
Fri Sep 14 18:24:29 EDT 2001

Bob Thayer

Today's grand memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC was an event I chose to watch, and it brought to me a sense of hope in our nation's search for a response to the Target America Terrorism that I had not had. It was in the music and in some of the speaker's remarks, and in the President's restraint, given the provocation of the suicide airline crashes. I felt, Well, mayb this nation is going to find some calm, some inner peace from grieving and sharing and outpouring of love for our beloeved victims—first—before we go off in revenge with military strikes. I allowed myself to believe for a moment that our principles about affirming justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and our goal of world peace with peace, liberty and justice for all—was being affirmed right and left.

rthsadhana @ aol.com
Fri Sep 14 18:23:36 EDT 2001

Heather Raffa

A poem I wrote Wednesday. —Heather Raffa

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

When I awoke, I thought the day beautiful.
I did not know it would be terrible.
Neither did the crickets chirping.
Neither did any U.S. Citizen working.

Pilots ready to go to their heavens,
Hijack four planes, 757s and 767s,
Bombs full of our people and plenty of fuel.
How could any sane person be so cruel?

Three missiles, into heavily populated targets crash
And from their offices people dash
To help their fellow workers and friends
Find relief from the terrorist fiends.

Everyday Americans who seem to know their fate,
Heroes fight hand-to-hand against enemy's hate.
They down the plane in rural P.A.,
Knowing they would die that day.

Those heroes may not have known
Into what building they may have flown,
Maybe the capitol or the White House.
Their sacrifice and courage we will espouse.

Good Americans with differing points of view,
In need, will put down the things they planned to do
And will always rise to join the crusade
By coming to their brothers' and sisters' aid.

Then, after shock, we wonder why,
Why were those people made to die?
Is it Afghanistan's forgotten war?
What in Hell are they fighting for?

At the grocer's and on the street,
People walk with shuffling feet;
No smiles or laughter fill the air.
The dead and injured our thoughts share.

We mourn for this tragic day
But our love for each other will not be swayed.
Diverse and together, we stand arm in arm
Against any who would do us harm.

Still, if we care to look,
There is peace in the trees and brook.
Meditate on Nature's shores
Before deciding to make wars.

heraffa @ wans.net
Fri Sep 14 18:22:28 EDT 2001

Sandy Tyndale

The following was written by one of our members who has given me permission to share it.

Less than one week ago a Catholic child in Northern Ireland was killed by a bomb for walking through a Protestant neighborhood to attend school.

Yesterday the murderous horror from the skies in the United States.

Meanwhile revelations grow each month over the trained death squads and their reign of terror against innocent people. Today a Moslem mosque was firebombed in Montreal, Quebec. It is all the same, be it New York, Washington, Santiago, Kosovo, Belfast, here or wherever.

This song was written from a sense of sadness and anger with the events of September 11.

SEPTEMBER 11

(music and words by Len Wallace)

I saw the news this morning
a tower all in flames
I saw the ones about to die,
I didn't know their names.
I watched the screen in disbelief,
an unbelieving eye.
The questions come into my mind
for who, for what, for why?

Terror is an ugly word
for an ugly hateful hate.
Terror of the madmen
or terror of the State.
Terror from the death squads
or terror from the skies.
No matter where, no matter when
it's the innocents who die.

And the sadness grows, the sadness grows.

A pipe bomb kills a little child
on her way to school.
The plane crashed into a tower
by a willing fool.
Napalm raining from the skies
for all the world to see.
Dimensions of the madness
are all the same to me.

And the sadness grows, the sadness grows.

Copyright Len Wallace 2001

sttyndale @ home.com
Fri Sep 14 13:43:06 EDT 2001

Amy DiLisio

As I look to the future, I wonder what the long-term implications will be. Will our compassion to the plights of people around the world grow or wither in response? Will our individual

freedoms be compromised in order to keep us safe from future attacks? What price are we willing to pay for our freedom? And what price are we willing to pay for the freedom of others?

I also wonder how we will personally respond as we heal from this attack. May we all learn from this that life is precious, and that people, everywhere, are so very important.

And may this incident, in its shocking tragedy, awaken us. May it spark Americans to respond to similar injustices outside our borders, the fragility of our ivory towers having been exposed.

amydilisio @ hotmail.com
Fri Sep 14 13:40:54 EDT 2001

Sarah Drinon

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.
 

sdrinon @ yahoo.com
Fri Sep 14 13:12:51 EDT 2001

Nancy Jacot-Bell

I hope that the horrendous suffering people in the U.S. are experiencing will cause all of us to think about how much suffering our country caused to civilians, including mothers and children, during the Gulf War, the bombing of Iraq, to name just one example of the suffering the United States has inflicted on people around the world. If we can relate our pain to the pain we have caused others, maybe we put our heads together to figure out peaceful solutions to great problems, instead of retaliating with more bombs, more infliction of pain on innocent civilians who are not responsible for the decisions those in power in their countries make.

jacotbel @ uchastings.edu
Fri Sep 14 13:12:14 EDT 2001

Jeff Wilson

There's too much to say. I am a member of the Community Church of New York (UU) and worked for the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York. I was in the World Trade Center for a three-day conference just two months ago. My close friends Mike was supposed to be there Tuesday morning but got delayed. So far it seems that all my friends and co-workers are OK, thank god. I really can't express much about this here right now, it's just too overwhelming.

But I do want to urge people to show solidarity with our Arab and Muslim neighbors. And Sikhs too, I never thought about this before reading the earlier post, but a lot of Sikhs will also suffer from indiscriminate violence. I wrote letters calling for tolerance of our fellow Americans of Arab descent to the editors of two local newspapers on Wednesday, and I hope y'all will do so likewise. I also patronized an Arab restaurant and will continue to offer my support however I can. We can't let innocent people be brutalized by those who can't tell a terrorist from a fellow countryman. Also, I pray that when the US inevitably makes military strikes in other countries that innocent people caught between the two sides are not killed and that we can exercise some judgement. The ordinary Afghanis and Iraqis have suffered far more than we can imagine under the terrible regimes in power in their countries, and it would be awful if we compound their misery with indiscriminate acts of destruction. Our fight is not against Islam, Arabs, or Afghanis, it is against hatred and violence in all its forms wherever it manifests.

jwilson403 @ hotmail.com
Fri Sep 14 12:44:59 EDT 2001

Jacqui C. Williams

I like one reply to the message urging everyone to display the American flag on Friday stating she would display a planet flag symbolizing her identity as a member of the human race. Messages are also circulating to honor those who have died, been injured or still lost as a result of Tuesday's actions in a candle lit vigil at 7PM on the National Day of Prayer (Reflection/Meditation) plus one asking people to stand outside with a candle as a symbol of resistance to terrorism. How confusing.

George W's words stating "America will lead the world to victory in the first war of the 21st century" scares me more than the Twin Towers collapsing. If terrorist action is responded to with more killing, what does that make us? By us, I mean everyone within sight and sound of what has and continues to unfold his week. Among the dead and missing are persons from all around the world of all faiths. Pride is not a bad thing and obviously is a powerful emotion to gather people's attention to act. The numbers of rescue workers and health care professionals appearing at ground zero was staggering as well as the amount of blood, cash and other donations to aid the victims, survivors and families within less than 24 hours. These acts of compassion are to be lauded and supported as long as is necessary. The actions of law enforcement agencies' efforts to identify the perpetrators, planners, financiers and supporters of those who would do such things plus FAA and airport security reviews to reduce the risk of repeat actions is also commendable. This is different from preparing for war.

My fear is the American flag is being used or seen as a rallying symbol to get the culprits, pledge pay-back, show 'em what we've made of and as an excuse to exercise hate towards others. Already Muslim mosques have been invaded and desecrated, people of Middle Eastern descent are being targeted and questioned, elementary students are calling classmates of dark complexion (regardless of ancestry) hurtful names, negative adjectives are beginning to appear in media coverage, Americans of Asian descent are being taunted with "Remember Pearl Harbor", etc. Is that what we want to be proud of? As a person of color, I remember and have researched enough of this country's history to know how often this symbol of freedom has been used to harm or exclude. Freedom carries responsibilities as well as rights, some of which are not to impose upon others. Would it be such a terrible thing for Americans to choose to be an example of caring and concern and bringing criminals/terrorists to justice rather than as leading retaliatory charges on other nations?

Let today be a day of universal gathering of positive energies to promote healing. Light a candle to clear the darkness in the hearts and minds of those who would do violence to others. Light a candle for those still obscured from rescue workers to help them be discovered. Light a candle for those families who have physically lost loved ones in acknowledgement of the spirit that lives on. Light a candle to allow hope in our hearts not to want to see such destruction again on this or any other nation's soil.

These will be my prayers today. Please add your own.

jc3willi @ capital.net
Fri Sep 14 12:12:16 EDT 2001

Gordon Bernstein

Retaliation is on almost everyones mind. If someone else was trying to kill me, would I be justified to defend myself even if the attacker died? Most of the time yes. If someone else was trying to kill you, would I be justified to defend you even if the attacker died? Again, most of the time yes.

If someone else was trying to kill you but was hiding behind an innocent, should I defend you at the possible expense of the innocent or let you die? I'm still working on that one because that is the difference between retaliation and defense.

gordon705 @ yahoo.com
Fri Sep 14 12:11:19 EDT 2001

Ray Griffin

Beliefs, when held in esteem above reason, lead to tyranny.

raygreer @ msn.com
Fri Sep 14 12:10:33 EDT 2001

Joanna Crawford

I could not BELIEVE this quote. I was sure it must be an Internet hoax. I went to The Christian Broadcasting Network site and played the video from Thursday's 700 Club—unfortunately, it was real.

There are some powerful feelings—good feelings—out there right now. The kind of feelings that are making people go give blood, wear a spirit ribbon, smile and talk to strangers in the grocery store. Now is the time that we must draw a distinction between these positive feelings in the aftermath of the attack, and feelings of hatred—hatred toward Muslims, Arabic peoples, and anyone not of a certain ilk. We must make people understand that it was that same kind of hatred that caused this tragedy.

Stand up, Unitarian Universalists!

Quote (regarding the WTC and Pentagon attacks):

"The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this. And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God or successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools.The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'."

Quoted from Jerry Falwell, The 700 Club, 9/13/01

webmaster @ nwcuuc.org
Fri Sep 14 12:09:51 EDT 2001

Eunice Milton Benton

A PRAYER FOR US ALL

As we come to the end of this week which
The world will not soon forget,
Let us pray for wisdom and guidance,
Even as we pray for strength and unity.

As our very human anger, frustration and indignation
Push us to cry out and strike back,
May our higher and wiser selves call us to search for finer ways
To protect freedom, fairness, and harmony.

As our fresh fear tempts us to name and blame as outsiders
Those who have perpetrated vengeful acts,
May we recall that all who call themselves American
Were once outsiders to this continent—-all save those
For whom this land was originally Native.
May we pause to contemplate oppression
And our complicity in it.

Even as we have witnessed the enormous power of small tools
In the hands of people of strong will,
May we be reminded of the power to build for good
Each of us possesses.
May our will to sustain a peaceful world be strong enough
To stand down those who model violence.

May we seize the swords of our pain and indignation
And bend them to contain our angered spirits
Until we can move forward in wisdom,
Toward peace.

We pray it may be so.

September 13, 2001

Mid-South District Office, UUA
9 Meaders Lane, Oxford, MS 38655
Eunice Milton Benton, District Executive

embenton @ aol.com
Fri Sep 14 11:11:03 EDT 2001

Norlyn Dimmitt

I want to call attention to Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), a group of brave Afghan women who are oppposed to the Taliban (and to fundamentalism). It seems inevitable that the U.S. will be striking Afghanistan, and I only pray that our congresspersons are aware of RAWA and similar organizations. Not only do we not want to compound their suffering, but our war on terrorism will be much more effective if we work with those already in Afghanistan. I also encourage everyone to visit RAWA.org for general consciousness raising about the situation in Afghanistan. Anyone reading this, please spread the word to others. We are the voice for millions of Afghans without voice (the internet has been banned there).

ndimmitt @ aol.com
Fri Sep 14 09:38:58 EDT 2001

Brian Tankersley

Anger. Rage.

Part of the grief process, and part of the natural reactions that make us human and sacred beings. I am not ashamed to say that I am angry. I am enraged that someone- anyone could plot and act in a way that makes victims out of so many innocent people. As a human being, I could not guarentee that I could keep control over my actions if placed in a room with the person or persons responsible for the attack, no matter how intellectual or "highbrow" I may seem to be to others.

I believe that all human lives are worth something, for I believe that in each human resides a part of something greater outside of our bodies. I also believe that this connection can be damaged. Through hatred, through dishonesty, through hurtful acts. I also realize that my anger is damaging me, although I am woe to stop feeling it. I suspect that many people would agree with me, and are being damaged as well. We need to respond. Pacifism is fine in some circumstances, but there are times that when you are hit, the only rational response is to hit back harder, lest you be struck down again.

Let's not admonish those who feel anger- if some of our young men and women in the military feel strongly enough that they commit their lives and professions towards defending our country and our concepts of government, do not lament their sacrifice. They will have died doing what they consider right and good, and by their own choice.

I pray that our leaders will take appropriate actions after much careful contemplation and investigation. If this includes striking the bully back in the face, so be it. My hand will strike along with theirs, and I will ask no forgiveness.

mbtank @ airmail.net
Fri Sep 14 09:31:29 EDT 2001

David Johnson

Just as I mourn the loss of the innocent victims from last Tuesday's acts of destruction and devastation, I also regret and condemn the calls for revenge and retaliation that I hear from my friends, my co-workers and the media. The War on Terrorism will prove to be just as futile and ineffective as the Wars on Poverty, Crime, Illiteracy, Drugs, the war in Vietnam and even the "Mother of all Wars". When will we understand and accept the fact that violence begets more violence—especially in a culture in which martyrdom is life's greatest and most eternal reward? When will our political and spiritual leaders celebrate and emulate the teachings of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Where are all the WWJD bracelets and banners? When will the appreciation of diversity and concern for those without power become more important to members of our society than establishing our wealth, superiority and dominance?

johnsonj-d @ mediaone.net
Fri Sep 14 08:23:51 EDT 2001

Sherry Swezey

It sounds like our administration/government wants to go to war—President Bush threatens to attack any country hiding the "perpetrator(s)" and there is much talk about how we are already at war and we must have retribution. How many of our young people in the military will be sacrificed to carry this out? Would President Bush send his daughters to fight for what he "believes?" Or only someone else's sons and daughters?

What has been done to us is a horrific attack—but surely our retaliation will also kill innocent people as well—maybe an equal number. How can one be wrong and doing the same back be right?

It's like the death penalty—certain acts of killing carry the death penalty as a sentence—yet whoever does the act to put that being to death is also killing someone.

I don't know or have any answers but I get really stuck on: if a person, group or nation believes a certain way, killing can be right, heroic, justified. If another person, group or nation has a different belief, killing is then wrong.

In some group/nation's eyes somewhere—the United States is perceived as a really terrible country and presence in the world. Enough so that a number of their followers gave their lives to do this.

Where is the truth in all this—?

downeybird @ aol.com
Fri Sep 14 06:45:13 EDT 2001

Dave Charlson

Is the answer as simple as what one of my students said? "Old Testament, eye for an eye; New Testament, turn the other cheek." Bless that kid... and all of us.

djcharlson @ okc.cc.ok.us
Fri Sep 14 06:33:22 EDT 2001

Patrick Murfin

A few years ago, during the Bosnian War, I wrote the following poem for a Memorial Day service.

IN THE CENTURY OF DEATH

They are like that grainy photo
on page six
of a million tires burning
somewhere in New Jersey.
We shake our heads
and click our tongues
with disapproval and dismay,
reflect a split second
before we turn the page
and hurry on to check out
Ann Landers,
the crossword puzzle,
National League standings
or the price of gold in London.

They are the dead,
an uncounted century
of waste and carnage,
staked as carelessly and deep
as those tires,
alike the cast off refuse
of industrial efficiency.
And like those tires they earn
a moment of our passing pity
in the rush of our busy lives
between work and
soccer practice,
hair cut and
committee meeting.

Unless by accident we are near
and a pungent change of wind
stings our noses and eyes
with acrid smoke
and oily ash drifts
onto our own innocent cheeks. 

This week that ash has truly drifted onto our cheeks.

Patrick Murfin
Congregational Unitarian Church,
Woodstock, Illinois

pmurfin @ mc.net
Fri Sep 14 06:32:22 EDT 2001

Britta Reida

i pray for those whose lives were lost.
i pray for those who lost loved ones.
i pray for those who are still waiting to hear from loved ones.
i pray for the people risking their lives to save others.
i pray for those of us who are physically unharmed but whose hearts are hurting.
i pray for our muslim brothers and sisters who need our support more than ever.
i pray for those responsible for the attack.

most of all, i pray for everyone to understand that, in the words of martin luther king jr, "darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
i pray for everyone to find non-violent ways of resolving conflict, because by hurting each other, we only hurt ourselves. we are all one.

the prayer service/candlelight vigil at my church (first parish brewster, MA) helped me so much. there were hundreds of us there, and although the air was thick with sorrow, it was also full of love and compassion as we all bonded together...together, we hugged, cried, sang, prayed, breathed, hoped, talked, held hands, held each other. it's the best we can do at a time like this.

light a candle.
hug your children.
say a prayer.
love one another.

love and blessings to you all,
britta

lovepeacejoy @ another.com
Fri Sep 14 06:31:08 EDT 2001

Donna Waddell

The past three days have been sureal for me, too. I can now recall with clarity exactly where I was and what I was doing when President Kennedy was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy was murdered, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the space shuttle exploded, the Federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, and now the terrorist attack on the United States. I have watched TV and listened to the radio. I do not understand the way the terrorists' minds work. I cannot imagine planning and carrying out such heinous acts.

I hear talk of war and retaliation. I hear about patriotism. I don't relate to these. I came to this web site and found voices that I can relate to.

It is hard to maintain the UU principle of the inherent worth and dignity of all people, because that principle applies to the people who carried out and supported this attack. But, I cannot blindly support my country either. I ask myself, "How are we perceived by the rest of the world? What has the US done to engender such anger in others? What if we (the US) took responsibility for our actions? What if we didn't put American business interests above everything else?"

Many ask why we haven't retaliated after previous terrorist acts. I think the answer is the politicians are afraid of losing the support of American business, those who fund their political campaigns.

What if we loved them, instead of attacking? What if we treated them the way we want to be treated? Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps there is no possibility of world peace. But I do have hope. I refuse to let it go.

Thank you for all of the positive thoughts posted here. It helps.

dwaddell @ ellijay.com
Fri Sep 14 06:30:02 EDT 2001

Richard Hallmark

The following was in response to a posting on the SUUSI mailing list.

At 8:32 PM -0400 9/13/2001, Ames Guyton wrote:

Terrorists, like the 'guerillas' of Vietnam will always have an advantage in that they choose the time and place of their attacks, thus offsetting momentarilly their inferior overall strength. Militarily this is what led to our failure in Vietnam. Today the scene may be different, since we have a global economy, and lack to some extent the effects of the cold war, suggesting diplomatic and economic pressures may become strategies as important as military measures. How ever, there is another factor that no one in the media seems to be remembering. Our dependency on Mid-east oil will again mitigate our influence and effectiveness on probable allies of Ossama bin Laden. Do we have the will and resources to combine our war against terrorists with a strategy to forcefully ( if necessary) maintain our essential oil requirements? And are some of those purporting to now support us, merely want us to again overcommit our economic and military resources as we did in Vietnam in order to internationally weaken the USA? Sobering questions! Ames

It would be the perpetuation of a myth held by many in the left to that we lost militarily in Viet Nam. Our failure was political not military. The US military was never defeated on the battlefield. The much touted Tiet Offensive was a military disaster for the Viet Cong and NVA. It was a public relations and political disaster for the US. The US military learned their lessons in Viet Nam (and Korea) much better than many think. The military success of Desert Storm can be directly related to the lessons learned in Viet Nam. I highly recommend the book "On Strategy" by Harry Summers Jr. for an analysis of Viet Nam from a military/political perspective.

I would also comment that it is also a myth, perpetuated by the news media, that the Tiet Offensive came as a surprise. I know for a fact that General Westmoreland (or his staff) was briefed in 1967 that the Viet Cong/NVA would conduct the attacks that became known as the Tiet offensive. The same individual who gave me this information also said that he also saw additional intelligence information in December 1967 which caused him to raise additional alarms. These alarms were ignored by the senior staff because they felt that if the Viet Cong/NVA tried such attacks they would suffer the military disaster that they experienced. The Tiet Offensive also failed in its tactical political goal which was to precipitate a "popular uprising" by the people. The Tiet Offensive had the unexpected result of a strategic political victory for the Viet Cong/NVA. The will of the American people was broken.

Although I am a Viet Nam veteran I choose not to engage in a discussion of the moral aspects of the Viet Nam conflict. I would would only add that I was an active member of VVAW from 1969 onward.

War is, by its nature, the ultimate political act. The armed forces of any nation may be charged with the actual conduct of a war but it is the political leadership that must define the political goals.

We are now engaged in a war. Sorry, fellow SUUSI participants that is the way it is. We, as a nation, must share the responsibility for our part in the actions that have lead to the outbreak of hostilities. But we must also remember that we did not fire the first shot that hit civilian targets.

At the prayer service we held at Spirit of Life Unitarian Universalists on Tuesday evening, our minister commented how she had talked with her mother about the events of the day and how it seemed like how it must have felt like that on December 7, 1941. Her mother replied how this was much worse. This sentiment was echoed by one of the older members present.

I am torn. I am troubled. I am sad. I am not a flag waving patriot. I did not fly one during Desert Storm. Tonight, however, an American flag flies at half staff from my house. It will fly day and night through the approaching storm. Unfortunately for me, the tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico may cancel our services on Sunday. I need to sing. given my choice I would sing a song written by SUUI participants:

I pledge allegiance
to the people of this county
And to the Republic
which lends a hand
One PLANET under PEACE
With Liberty and Justice for ALL

WE MUST FIND A WAY TO END THIS CYCLE OF HATRED.

Richard Hallmark
Former Petty Officer 2nd Class
U.S.S. Intrepid CVA-11 (It is on the Hudson not far from where WTC once stood)
919-53-71
November 21, 1944

rhallma1 @ tampabay.rr.com
Fri Sep 14 06:28:39 EDT 2001

rachel epstein

Is anyone at the UUA writing a petition to the President and Congress to stop all this war-mongering? I want us to seek peace in this situation, not war. This is not a war, yet. Only we now can make it into a war with rash attempts at revenge on uncertain targets.

razelmail @ aol.com
Fri Sep 14 00:06:58 EDT 2001

Stan Kidder

Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations—it's our second principle. There is no doubt that the perpetrators of Tuesday's crimes in New York and Washington should be brought to justice, but I think we should be equally concerned with equity and compassion.

Those most directly responsible for these acts are all dead. They were    suicide bombers—capable, intelligent people with so little hope for the    future that they thought that the best thing they could do with their    lives was to blow themselves up and take as many people as possible with    them

I worry that somehow the Middle East conflict is going global. I don't    really understand the Middle East conflict, but I know that it has    created a lot of suicide bombers. I pray that whatever we do in response    to these terrorist attacks produces fewer, not more, suicide bombers. And this is the province of equity and compassion.

stankidder @ home.com
Thu Sep 13 22:28:12 EDT 2001

kristen

This morning I listened to my collegues at work talk. I listened to seemingly rational people talk about herding all arabs-all muslims in America and deporting them so we could be safe. I listened to seemingly rational people talk about simply leveling mountains, bombing countries (any arab country), and I wondered. I wondered if they realized what they were saying. And I was ashamed-as a UU and as an American. Then I felt my chalice and I remembered the reason I chose to wear it today-to remind myself that in the days to come-I need to hold true to my values-that the events of Tuesday are not going to cause me to abandnon my principles-that we are all apart of the same interconnected web of life and may it always be so.

Thu Sep 13 22:26:52 EDT 2001

Devon Vance

For most of my adolescent life I had been doubtful of the existence of God,

But when I saw the airliner go through the World Trade Center in New York, I went into somber, silent shock. The first thought that rushed through my mind was "How? How can America be attacked from the outside? Only Americans could bring a nation as powerful as America to its knees? No one else in the world should be able to attack this country!" But apparently someone else succeeded.
It was then that I found God, for if an event as unheard of as this tragedy can happen, then there must be a God. I'm not Christian, and I will never be, but I do believe in God now. I consider myself to be a Unitarian and a Universalist. I've been a pagan, a new ager, a Deist, and an agnostic, but not anymore. Now I know exactly who I am spiritually; a Unitarian-Universalist. I pray for my country everyday now; praying that we continue to be a strong nation, if not indestructable anymore.

God Bless America.

zeston @ excite.com
Thu Sep 13 22:20:28 EDT 2001

Franklin Velazquez

Dear friends:

The day of the tragedy brought me and my co-workers great sadness. One co-worker's husband was working at the World Trade Center, another had a sister-in-law there, and yet another had a cousin working there. The first one, was crying and we feeling her anguish, believing her husband had perished. Several hours later, he called to say he had gotten out in time. The others were safe also. My brother, William, I later found out, was suppose to work at the World Trade Center, but didn't go in to work due to a car accident in which no one was hurt. He also would have been a casualty.

I work in the South Bronx and can tell you people feel pain, sadness, fear and hopelessness. We are still in a state of denial, mixed with disorientation. I sometimes feel like I am experiencing a surreal situation, semi-real and semi-unreal. Every day we walk about how sad we feel over the deaths and the survivors. We have spoken about how now to turn to vengeance as an alternative. We talk about our frustration about not being able to do more. We made a collection at work for the Red Cross as our contribution. I ask all of you for prayers of support, solidarity, help for the family members of the victims and peace. I cry every day knowing many will never see their loved ones. In a sense we are all victims of this senseless act of violence. I ask for justice, without converting ourselves into senseless killers. I feel sadness and at times anger shows its head. It's alright to feel. But I only hope that my own heart not turn to stone.

Yours truly,
Franklin Velazquez

bridgefranklin @ cs.com
Thu Sep 13 21:39:12 EDT 2001

Jennifer Brooks

Be a voice for sanity and hope.

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, millions of Americans are experiencing despair, anger, and frustration. Along with the grief we feel for the victims and their families, we also fear for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. Our sense of security has been shaken. The world will never be the same.

In worship services and prayer vigils, Unitarian Universalists have come together to share our grief and to draw strength from our community of faith. We understand that these terrible acts are not the choice of sane and balanced minds. We recognize the extremism, self-deception, and mental illness that drives terrorism. We find solace in the knowledge that we and many others are driven instead by love, hope, and a vision of a better world.

Yet many Americans do not share our way of understanding. Isolated and in despair, they are reaching out for help and hope. Go online and enter a chat room. There are people like Shorty, a 26-year-old single man, who "came home to an empty apartment," his family thousands of miles away. "I feel so alone," he wrote. Chat room visitors, themselves torn with grief and confusion, responded. "We are with you, Shorty," one wrote, and another, "I hope you feel our love."

Others have turned to anger and hatred. The target for their rage is any Arab, anywhere. Even before there is any certainty about the perpetrators, they lay the blame on Arab terrorists and generalize from the fanatic to their neighborhood shop-keeper. This tendency is particularly evident online. "All Arabs are barbarians," wrote one of the rescue workers, whose online name was "Olds." Distraught from shifting debris and finding body parts, Olds said "I hate them all." Another writer responded, "We should nuke all Arabs off the face of the earth."

Some of the online chatters struggled with what Olds was saying. "I know how you feel," one wrote, "but hatred is not the answer."

What is the answer? Unitarian Universalists, shaped by our 400-year struggle for tolerance in matters of religion, committed to free and open discussion of important issues, can be a voice for sanity and hope. We can counter the cries of hatred with, "Justice, not hate." We can resist the call for retaliation with, "Only terrorists destroy the innocent." We can speak to despair, saying "We can be shelter for each other."

One response to hate-talk that includes "peaceful protectors" for mosques. Like the escorts for family planning clinics, the peaceful protectors will stand in solidarity, as allies, with worshippers who may be the innocent targets of hate crimes. Many of us will join in this peace initiative.

But we don't have to leave our homes to help.

Go online. Enter a chat room, and speak in truth and love. Let each of us be a voice for sanity and hope.

—Jennifer Brooks

jjsbrooks @ aol.com
Thu Sep 13 20:12:21 EDT 2001

Stephanie

My name is Stephanie and I'm 14. I live in Wisconsin.    This is by far the worst event to happen in the US in my life,    and most likely the worst for all Americans. I think the shock    of it is still sinking in. Today I felt like I wasn't me, I was    watching myself walk through the hallways, it was like watching a    movie. Or dreaming . . . I still think I'm dreaming. But in my heart    I know that it's not a dream. I woke up this morning, rubbed my eyes,    and knew I hadn't been dreaming, it's a nightmare and we're    living it.

steph_2816 @ yahoo.com
Thu Sep 13 19:20:10 EDT 2001

John Schneider

Many of us received a significant tax refund this summer from our government. I for one have felt uncomfortable with this windfall and have held on to it until I could find a special cause or need for the money. I urge all Americans with similar feelings to now donate all or a portion of their tax refund to any relief organization that, through its work, will somehow help us become a more peaceful planet, regardless of our race or national origin.

I fear the worst in the days ahead. I think often of those who have lost loved ones, and can not fathom their pain and suffering. And yet, more is to come I fear. Where are the peacemakers?

johnrschneider @ mediaone.net
Thu Sep 13 19:14:26 EDT 2001

Jennifer

I want to send peace and love to all those who had a loved one involved in the awful tragedies of September 11th. I believe the strong UU spirit of justice and love will help all UUs work through this terrible time in our country. I hope all UUs work to spread the word that any kind of hate crimes against those of Arab descent is not only awful and wrong, but exactly what those terrorists want us to do. This is the time to stand united as Americans and as human beings. God Bless all of us. Peace and love, Jennifer M. Houston, Texas

soneurotic @ hotmail.com
Thu Sep 13 19:12:56 EDT 2001

Kat Dyer

First comes numbness... how could this be?
Watching mass destruction on my living room tv.
Add to that now, worry... fear for kith & kin,
Hoping for the best... for everyone within.
Searching inside and wanting to cry...
But not just for myself...
My missing are few...
The Creators... many

kdyer @ home.com
Thu Sep 13 17:59:08 EDT 2001

Simone Perry

I'm horrified by these events. This morning I woke up and began crying as I    watched the footage and listened to the reports. There is no excuse for    this. I am exploring Universal Unitarianism but right now I'm known as a    Muslim and it is HARD. It is hard because people see my head scarf and now    all I get are stares and comments... ". ..cab drivers would not even pick me up    last night or this morning and they saw me struggling with two small babies.

We don't even know who did it but right away all eyes and fingers point to    the Middle East and of course everyone equates that with being Muslim. My    husband who is an African Muslim was terrified to go to work yesterday. We    have to remember that not everyone is responsible for these heinous acts and    not all Muslims are linked to 'terrorist organizations'

But as I said I'm horrified by these events. So many lives lost and terror    driven into the hearts of Americans. WHY?? Why hurt innocent people? NYC has    practically shut down for the second day...

When I sit at work, dressed in regular clothing I feel close to the    people... we share stories of disbelief and shock...

But when I am walking the streets wearing a head scarf I feel isolated and    glared at.

simone.j.perry @ abc.com
Thu Sep 13 17:57:56 EDT 2001

Kamalla Rose Kaur

Bless You UU Friends,

I am a UU Sikh and a daily columnist for Global Sikh Daily News Online  the largest Sikh Newspaper and website in the World. This is    saying something because Sikhs live in Diaspora, 25 million of us!    Sikhi is a Universalist, anti-caste and class movement from India. Sikhi is    actively non-racist and is, in theory at least, completely non-sexist. Sikhs    are famous as defensive warriors. It is against Sikh vows to attack. Sikhs    may only defend—actually Sikhs are under vow to defend people against    oppression whenever we encounter it.

Because Sikhs wear turbans and beards we are being perceived as Muslims this    morning. I have spoken to John Hurley at UU Org. today and he has instructed    me to broadcast to Sikhs everywhere that we can contact local UU Churches    for support and comfort. If we arrive at your church we will have speakers    (optional but available), musicians (wonderful) and LANGAR (lots of Indian    food) to share.

Thank you for your kindness and please spread this message to UU Churchs in    your States. I am focussing on contacting UU Chruches in the prime    danger-zones.

Bless you.

roselotus @ aol.com
Thu Sep 13 17:55:31 EDT 2001

Ann Lightfoot Habafy

Here in Morocco, where I have lived for over 30 years, I have had nothing but sympathy and understanding from friends, colleagues and simple acquaintances, both Moslem and non-Moslem.

I am horrified and extremely worried by anti-Moslem acts in the US and I am grateful to the UUA for speaking out against these acts and for encouraging tolerance. Please continue to do so, in the name of all UUs.

annlhabafy @ yahoo.com
Thu Sep 13 15:01:17 EDT 2001

Joan Patterson

May we keep in mind our UU principle and goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, as we deal, individually and collectively, with this terrible tragedy. May we also reach out to all of our friends and neighbors, including those with whom we disagree, with compassion and caring.

jpatters @ mailer.fsu.edu
Thu Sep 13 12:34:56 EDT 2001

Kari Hirst

Such an act of hatred and destruction, seems unfathomable in our democratic society. The horror of it all, really leaves one questioning so many things: safety, serenity, sanity; to name but a few. The Americian people are in my heart and in my prayers, yet that does not seem to be enough. I rest assured that love is what will heal the people and communities terrorized by these horrendous events. This I give freely, as do so many around the world.

I must say the resiliency of the American people is an inspiration, for in light of their nightmare they refuse to be immobilized. They have united, showing an amazing sense of community, which will hopefully serve to send the message that compassion, consideration and unity are the true healers.

And to those who cannot help but to be grounded by this chaos, I would like to share with you something I saw on the news this morning. In amongst the rubble of the fallen Twin Towers, they found an Americian flag standing tall and proud. I do not remember who the speaker was, or his exact words, but the message was as follows: 'This just goes to show, that America may be down, but we sure as hell aren't defeated.' Take hope in the strength of the Americian people, for you have an amazing sense of pride and devotion to eachother and to your country. I believe that that, together with an abundance of love, and a bit of time, will ease the anguish somewhat. At least, this is my earnest wish for all of you.

Eventhough I believe something must be done in response to the insanity that brought about these acts, I truly hope that the US Government does not consider war its number one option. Who knows how many innocent people have died at the hands of these madmen? Is there need for any more innocents to suffer the same fate?

Finally, I offer this prayer for all who are suffering:

May your Great Spirit (whatever form that spirit may take) hold you close. May that same Spirit send Angels to watch over you and keep your journeys safe. Furthermore, I implore that Spirit, to allow you to see your own strength, as well as, the collective strength of your nation; so that you may use that power to pull you through your darkest hours. Finaly, I deplore the Spirit to remind you that once you have had time to grieve, you will be able to live, love and laugh again. America will prevail!
May angels watch over you;
May the stars shine brightly,
Guiding you through your dark spots.
And,
Above all,
May the love and compassion being sent the world over,
Be felt by you, within every fiber of your being. Amen

kiratye @ yahoo.ca
Thu Sep 13 12:33:43 EDT 2001

Christiane Geisler

Sept 13, this morning, the Washington Post reports that: Two bricks were thrown through the front windows of the Old Town Islamic Bookstore in Alexandria with the words "Death to Arab Murderers". I will follow the words of Rev Sinkford and encourage my congregation to "reach out to the Arab and Muslim Communities" so together we can defeat hate.

geislerd @ erols.com
Thu Sep 13 09:44:28 EDT 2001

Judith Hishikawa

These random acts of terrorism are probably not over, as we in this world become more and more sophisticated with all our inventions. There will always be hate. The trick is to rise above it, and rally our strengths. Mayor Giuliani has done that so well, saying the towers will rise again, the people of New York will make the city a better place, no one can stop us. The terrorists must be surprised at how well everyone did rally and give blood. Volunteers are being turned away. There were no bags left for blood donations in the city on 9/12. So many people want to help and have.

some have given school space for triage, working overtime, sending in trucks to carry away debris, all to help out. Some times a wound makes us stronger. So the reverse of the terrorists' expected reactions has occured. How disappointed they must be!

hishikawasensei @ msn.com
Thu Sep 13 09:42:48 EDT 2001

Rev. Austin Fitzpatrick

Unitarians in the Southern Unitarian Association in England and colleagues in the Unitarian ministry in the UK send their deepest condolences to fellow Unitarians (UUs) in the USA after the dreadful events on 11th September. We hold in our hearts and prayers all those killed or hurt in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, especially those who gave their lives when helping the rescue. We think of those close-by in Manhattan, like The Community Church,. And we in Southampton think especially about our Southampton Organist, Antonio Cascelli who is in New York on a music scholarship working for his well-deserved doctorate. This tragedy is a great test of our faith.

I think of Arthur Powell Davies, one time minister at All Souls Washington, DC, where your President William Sinkford was last Sunday, I believe,who wrote " In spirit and in truth, O God we turn to thee..." Whatever, however we think of God, we turn to the depths of our spirit to find a non-retributive answer to this tragedy. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Rev. Austin Fitzpatrick
President
SOUTHERN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION, ENGLAND

southampton.minister @ unitarians.org.uk
Thu Sep 13 09:41:11 EDT 2001

Dwight Ernest

My thoughts and prayers are strongly mindful of the sacrifice of the hundreds of uniformed municipal service people: firefighters, police, and medical people. Most people run away from trouble; these people died because they run toward it.

dwight @ nospam.significant.com
Wed Sep 12 21:47:39 EDT 2001

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Last updated on Thursday, August 2, 2012.

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