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Most of us who were at least 10 years old and living in the United States on September 11, 2001, can still tell you exactly where they were and how they felt on that day thirteen years ago.

The people who were in New York and other affected areas were at the heart of the trauma; they not only witnessed the attacked through the media, but were also there to inhale the smoke, the dust, to navigate a city under siege, and experience chaos in the way that typically only soldiers and first-responders do – by experiencing the very real threat of danger.

The crisis of September 11 brought to the forefront some of our most deeply-held values, and as such, it provided an opportunity for many to step up and serve others who were hurting. Among the many who responded to the crisis was the Church. People of all faiths donated funds, gave their time, provided food and prayed with strangers on the streets. The Church sent hundreds of volunteers to New York to support the cleanup crews and to serve the families of those who were lost. From the debris of a day full of grief, the Church rose quietly and stood in the midst of the ashes to feed the hungry, wipe a tear and stand in silent support while we all mourned.

Let us not forget our place in a hurting world. The hunger, despair and mourning continue all around us and it is just as important to be there today as we were during September 11, 2001. This is a time for people of faith and conviction to live our hope and practice it even in the shadow of fear. Let faith and service be the face of Esperanza on this September 11th and every other day.

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