Bells toll for 9/11

Russell Powell

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Read Bells toll for 9/11

Former Prime Minister John Howard sat in the front row of St Andrew's Cathedral as the bells tolled 15 times in remembrance of the 11th September 2001 when terrorists attacked the twin World Trade towers in New York, and flights over Pennsylvania and Washington.

The attacks killed 2,996 people, including 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers, and injured over 6,000 others

Mr Howard, who was Prime Minister at the time, watched from his hotel room window as the attack on Washington unfolded. This morning, he read Matthew 5:43-48 before a church packed with diplomatic representatives from the more than 60 countries who lost citizens in the attack, and the US Ambassador to Australia, John Berry.

Mr Berry brought greetings on behalf of the American President and people.

US and Australian flags hung in front of the congregationThe Governor of NSW, the Honourable David Hurley sat in the same row as Mr Howard and representatives of Fire and Rescue NSW were also in attendance to show solidarity with their colleagues in New York.

"The Bible readings chosen for today’s service are apt for our occasion. The Bible is no stranger to calamity or trouble. It is not naïve about the terrors of destruction unleashed by humans upon one another for whatever cause seems right in their own eyes. It is not unaware that disasters strike for no apparent reason, whether it be natural disaster, such as earthquakes in central Italy, or deadly diseases, such as cancer, or even accidental death, where there is no apparent cause. The Bible deals with real life and is neither simplistic nor idealistic." Archbishop Glenn Davies told the congregation.

Archbishop Davies speaks at the service"We cannot fathom the depth of human depravity which unleashes the horrors of terrorism across the world. That this past week we should hear the news of the Taliban mercilessly capturing more territory in Afghanistan is a chilling reminder of the crisis of our world." Dr Davies said. "Yet there is hope. ‘God is our hope and refuge.’ "

Dr Davies spoke of a visit, this year, to the site of the attacks in New York.

"In the lowest level of the 9/11 Museum is an unbroken pane of glass. Of 40,000 windows in the Twin Towers which shattered on September 11, only one windowpane, from the 82nd floor of the South Tower, is known to have survived intact. As it fell to the earth it was still set within a fragment of the facade that penetrated the street below. Out of rubble and ruin was a remnant of survival." he said.

"Let us not forget that Jesus will return to wrap up this old world and bring in everlasting righteousness. If we fail to heed Jesus’ own warning to turn back to God and put our trust in him, then the horrors of 9/11, the pain of a world bent on destruction, the insecurity of not knowing where terrorism will strike next will haunt us relentlessly.

If we look to Jesus, conqueror of death and destruction, then there we shall find hope, true hope that will not disappoint but will bring us safely home to an eternal rest." the Archbishop said.