I’ve spent some time reflecting on 9-11. The Garden of Reflection is a good place to do that. I’ve  spoken with Rabbi Richard Hirsh, Reverend Sherri Hausser, and Imam Marc Manley, all three of whom are among those involved with the Philadelphia Interfaith Center, which since shortly after 9-11 has endeavored to encourage respect between and among religions and the people who practice them. 

Courtesy T. Manion Foundation

I’ve thought about Janet and Thomas Manion, who seek to promote character and service, goodwill and more in the name of their son, Lt. Travis Manion, who died in Iraq.  Tom carries with him the baseball cap NYC firefighters gave Travis before his final tour of duty.  I’ve thought about the military families I’ve seen crying in a fire hall as their loved ones left for deployment overseas.  I’ve thought about my reporting on and immediately following 9-11-01 and a year later at the Pentagon.  I’ve thought, too, about how we civilians often fail in times of crisis with displays of panic or greed.  We will be challenged in the future.  Our response will be driven by necessity and also by anger and fear.  But that response is not most of the solution for our children and beyond. 

A military component of our path to security and peace will be necessary, but we can do much more than we have been doing to end the greed, fear, ignorance and poverty which lead to the darkest displays of human behavior in the name of religion.

Ellen Saracini

Bucks County, Pennsylvania, lost 18 residents on 9-11, 9 of them were from Lower Makefield Township. Ellen Saracini, wife of United Airlines Flight 175 Captain Victor Saracini, is one of the co-founders of the Garden of Reflection in Memorial Park in Lower Makefield.

Ellen tells me the one thing she would say to you is to love your family and be with them as much as possible. She also says about the Garden of Reflection that it has become a place to get away from the anger, to move toward peace and to be at peace.  I cannot think of a better road to choose.

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