United in prayer
Religious leaders of all faiths participated Sunday in a prayer service at Yankee Stadium honoring the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and their loved ones.
Excerpts from the service:
"Creator of all life, when we were asked as children what we wanted to be when we were older we would answer, 'A fireman, a policeman.' Today as adults, we again answer, 'We want to be like them.' We know who we are, they showed us who we can be. ... We of different faiths, we all believe that we must face each other as one human family, to find shalom, to find salaam, and to find peace."
-- Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Fire Department chaplain
"I am here on behalf of the Sikh community and would like to share with you the pain and suffering we have experienced this week. This pain has changed us forever ...
"The people who did this horrible act to America did not know that this country, which was conceived in liberty and which comprises ... people from all over the world, is strong in its diversity, is strong in its sacrifice, and wants to send a message to all those who listen across the seas and all over that we are strong, we will not be bowed, and we [are] here as a symbol of the best that man has to offer."
-- Dr. Inberjit Singh, Sikh Temple of Richmond Hills, New York
"This memorial service is for you, and I hope that at this time you will take the hands of the person who sits on either side of you. You may know them, you may not, but if we are going to stand in unity, we have to at least unify by at least the joining of our hands and hearts. I want you to turn to your neighbor and say, 'We are going to get through this. We are going to get through this. ...'
"... In the harbor of New York there stands a lady, the Statue of Liberty, and thank God today that while I regret the loss of life and the destruction of the World Trade Towers that those cowards did not come near Lady Liberty. On her tablets are penned the words that have come to symbolize our nation: 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the retched refuse of your teaming shores; send these, the homeless tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.' And I want to pause now to thank the mayor of New York for keeping that door golden and bright for all of the United States of America."
-- Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts
"The real horror of that day lies not in its bigness but in its smallness. In the small, searing death of one person, 6,000 times. And that one person was not a number. That person was our father, or our mother, or our son, or our daughter, or our grandpa, or grandma, or brother, or sister, or cousin, or uncle, or aunt, or friend, or lover, our neighbor, our co-worker, the woman who delivered our mail, or the man who put out the fire, or the man who arrested the bad guys in our town. And the death of each and every one of them alone would be worthy such a gathering and such a grief ....
"... Our sages taught that when one kills one person, it is like killing the whole world altogether, and when one saves a single person, it is like saving the whole world altogether. Last week over 6,000 worlds were killed, and thank the Lord a few, far too few, worlds were saved by heroes most of whom will never be known. The dimensions of last week's horror only become fully drawn when we enter each murdered world, one world at a time ....
"... I want to say to those who cannot find hope through faith I say to you that you are also part of our bundle, too. For the important task in our spiritual journey, now is not for all of us to agree that the name for hope is God. The main task now is to agree that hope was not one of the worlds destroyed that day -- the day when 6,000 people did not die, but the day when one person died 6,000 times."
-- Rabbi Marc Gellman
"Just 14 days ago our beloved city and our beloved nation were violated. We lost women and men and children whom we sorely needed, whom we greatly admired, whom we deeply cherished. In our hospitals hundreds are in pain, in our homes thousands are in mourning, and in all of us there abides an urgent need for your grace.
"Heavenly father, wrap us in your providential care. Take our deceased brothers and sisters into your divine presence forever."
-- Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York
"We Muslim Americans stand today with a heavy weight on our shoulders that those who would dare do such dastardly acts claim our faith. They are no[t] believers in God at all. Nor do they believe in his messenger Mohammed, the prayers of peace be upon him. We condemn him and their cowardly acts, and we stand with our country against all that would come against it ....
"... We are one with the creator of the heavens and the Earth. We are one with members of faith, both Jewish and Christian, and others who are here today and those who are absent. We are believers and we not be deterred. So let those of you who are here today, take this word out, that we are one America made up of all the beautiful faiths and beautiful persons and beautiful colors and that is what makes us unique in the world and we will not change."
-- Iman Izak-El Pasha
"On September 11, we have seen two types of humans. We have seen the human kind that would go to any lengths, who would give their lives to hurt others. Yes, we have seen humans who would give their lives in an effort to save lives ....
"... This is the dawn of a new horizon, a new reality. An evil that is beyond the imagination of any sane, god-fearing individual has descended upon us. But the same grit which has sustained us and withstood wars against this great country for centuries will declare us victors once again."
-- Pandit Roop Sukram
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