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Reflection by General Secretary Bob Edgar
Of the National Council of Churches USA, New York, N.Y.
For September 11, 2003

As we contemplate the sobering events of September 11, 2001, and their tragic theft of human life and national innocence, let us never forget the victims and their survivors, whose personal histories were savagely altered on that day. As we memorialize them, let us also renew our commitment to be better stewards of the challenges of our time. We must work diligently to assure that such senseless atrocities never happen again, in the United States or in any nation. We must press tirelessly for justice, freedom and peace in every troubled corner of our world, knowing that injustice, bondage and war breed the kind of hatred that begets terrorists in every culture.

Let us wisely seek multinational partnerships in a foreign policy that acknowledges the interdependence of the world in which we now live, and not isolate ourselves in a foolhardy retreat from the global realities of our time, where instant communication, rapid transportation, and free-flowing commerce make every nation a neighbor to all the other nations, whether we wish them to be or not. Only when we live as friends and active, caring partners with all our neighbors can we be secure as a free people.

And let us reflect on those conditions of national security that go beyond defense and diplomacy. No nation is secure unless its people are well educated, healthy, and economically stable. Today, America is dangerously insecure in each of these areas, with declining investments in the education of our children, the health care of our families, and the employment of our work force. A skyrocketing federal deficit, fueled by irresponsible tax cuts, threatens the economic future of generations yet to come. We have work to do on these issues of national security, and they are urgent issues indeed.

September 11 is just one date on the calendar, but it is a benchmark date in our memories and in our agendas, as we stand boldly and proclaim the American experiment still a glorious work in progress. That will be the most fitting memorial to those who perished on that fateful day.

-end-

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