It seems odd to me that so many of these kinds of events happen in the morning: London.. Madrid...Pearl Harbor...New York, and of course, Washington.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Are the souls of the murderers kept? Are the souls of the victims taken? It seems so simple when you’re a child-- but, once you’re an adult, things become more complicated. At this point of my life, I wonder about these things.
Four years have past since that morning. A morning that cannot be forgotten. A morning so striking in its beauty, so unremarkably remarkable...that is, until...
Pearl Harbor, too, happened in the morning-- A beautiful Sunday morning. And then, with a suddenness that seemed, I would think, surreal, 360 Japanese planes descended on the people of Honolulu. The pilots of those planes-- did they sleep the night before? If they prayed, what did they say?
Eddie Dillard-- the husband of my friend, Rosemary-- and fifty-three other men and women were murdered on Flight 77.
And, it was in the morning.
Commander Mistuo Fuchida led the air attack on Pearl Harbor. The oft-repeated phrase of, “Tora, Tora, Tora” is attributed to him. That morning, at Pearl Harbor, 2100 people lost their lives. Nearly 800 were wounded.
Many lay entombed inside the Battleship Arizona even to this very day.
In the twilight of his life, after converting to Christianity, Commander Fuchida wrote these words: "I would give anything to retract my actions of twenty-nine years ago at Pearl Harbor, but it is impossible. Instead, I now work at striking the death-blow to the basic hatred which infests the human heart and causes such tragedies. And that hatred cannot be uprooted without assistance from Jesus Christ."
When I think of forgiveness, my mind wonders to Shakespeare and the tragedy of Julius Caesar. “It is not that I loved Caesar less,’ said Brutus, “but that I loved Rome more.”
It seems to me that the play Julius Caesar isn’t really about Caesar. He dies at the beginning of Act III. The play isn’t about Brutus and Cassius and their ambitions, nor is about Antony and Octavius and their desire for greatness... it seems to be about the death of an idea.
With each act of murder-- with each episode that sheds innocent blood...the blood of those who have taken up no arms, brandished no weapon-- we become like the citizens of Rome as they learned of Caesar’s death. They were angry, yet they didn’t know where to direct this anger. They were lost, yet they would not seek counsel. Their throats were parched with thirst, but they sought no water.
They could not realize that in Caesar’s death, the ideas that spawned their way of life also died...thus, the seeds of their own demise were planted with each dagger into his slumping form.
Fuchida was right. It is hatred within our hearts that causes such tragedies.
If only we could overcome this gathering evil with good. Why? Because everyone suffers. Both murderer and victim.
Though four years have past, the memories remain. I know what mornings can bring.
I hope there will be no more mornings like December 7, July 7, March 11 and of course, September 11. It is my earnest hope that we have learned.