Peace and Justice


The New York City photos above and at left are snapshots taken in late June 1972.

Peace and Justice

A Tree and a Radio:
tree Remembering seven days in September

Dick Bernard

I was in a small city in northern Minnesota on September 7, 2001. It was a very rainy day, a perfect day to transplant a tree in honor of my sister, Flo: her community recognizing her for her years of work on violence prevention issues in her County.

Her husband, Carter, and I dug a hole for the tree on the grounds of the new public school on the edge of town. At the appointed time, local dignitaries arrived and we planted the tree securely in its new home. There were good feelings all around.

The rest of the weekend was equally work on their new cabin progressed well. My son-in-law, John, and their son, Eric, came to help.

* * * * *
Home again, on Monday, September 10, 2001, a group of us from our church began a two-week building project on a Habitat for Humanity home in south Minneapolis. Son-in-law John joined us for a couple of days on-site. A blessing for our coming work was given by one of the parish priests early Monday morning. It was a very nice day in Minneapolis, beginning a week full of promise.

Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I was driving to the worksite when, sometime about 8 a.m. CDT, an announcement came over the car radio - a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. There were no details. At the site we barely had electricity, much less television, so someone turned on the radio in their vehicle, so we could keep up to date on the fast-breaking news. Later, someone secured a radio, which we perched on some wood at the front of the home.

We worked on.


Somewhere towards mid-day, one of our co-workers came back from somewhere to let us know that the Twin Towers had collapsed. It was such a mind-boggling scenario, that our minds could not comprehend it. It was not until I came home late in the afternoon, and actually saw the images on television, that I could comprehend what had happened in New York City, and elsewhere, that fateful day. The next day, and all of the rest of the two weeks, our work crew was much larger than normal. More people came to work than could be accommodated. We worked on.

* * * * *

A year has now passed, and I wonder about lots of things.

I find myself wondering not so much about what was, or is, but more than ever, what will become of us in months and years to come.

I wonder about us - the U.S. - and our relationship with the rest of the world. Most of all, I wonder what kind of world we are leaving to our children, grandchildren and those who will follow them.

A year later, and the tree planted at that school in rural Minnesota is thriving, adapting well to its changed environment.

Are we?

Reflections on "A Tree and a Radio"

Copyright 2002
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