The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.


You know me. I'm usually a little overzealous and all-politics-all-the-time. But I can't be that way, today. Today, it can't be about use and abuse of references to 9/11 for political gain. Today, it can't be about my distaste for those who fail to see the brotherhood of the major Abrahamic religions. Today, it can't be academic.

10 years ago today was one of the worst days in American history. Thousands of people lost their lives, their livelihoods, their families, their loved ones, their homes, their spirits. Fortunately I have to work all day and therefore will not even have the chance to be bombarded with images and videos and sounds all over the news.

It's weird because 10 years ago today I was 13 years old. I was getting ready for like, week two of 8th grade. My life was not about politics or religion or activism just yet. My life was about walking to the bus stop and laughing my way to middle school with my best friends.

My parents are not news watchers. Never have been. That morning, a friend of my mom's called and said to turn on the tv. I was sitting at the table eating breakfast before getting ready for school. I have this memory of seeing the second plane hit. But I also don't remember knowing what it meant or what was happening. My mom sent me to school, and I told all my friends at the bus stop what had happened. We didn't know what it meant. A woman jogged by our bus stop and called out "Jesus Loves You!" to us as we waited. We didn't know why.

We didn't know about terrorism. We didn't know about radical Islam. We didn't know about radical Christianity, really, either. We didn't know what this meant.

I remember getting to my first period history class and watching the news for the whole period. I don't remember if we did anything in any of my classes that day. I recall watching the news.

AMERICA UNDER ATTACK, it said on every station.

Still, we didn't know what it meant.

I remember watching President George W. Bush speak to us. I remember, over the course of the days following 9/11 that words like "terror" and "axis of evil" and "weapons of mass destruction" flowed out of his mouth and into our living rooms. I remember being told that this was not a war on Islam and would never be a war on Islam. I still don't know what that meant.

What I am going to say today instead of anything about the GOP or about Islamophobia or about blame and conspiracy and all of the stuff that comes up when we talk about 9/11, is that today will always remind me to be grateful.

I am grateful, today, that nobodyI love has been taken from me in an act of terrorism, domestic or international. This may seem like something rather specific to be grateful for, but there are thousands of people in this country who cannot say the same. And I am thinking of them, today.

I am thinking of them and I am thinking of every member of my family and those friends of mine that are my family and how it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me to lose even a single one of them. To lose you.

Today is not about waving American flags or holding rallies or even about preaching a certain way. For me, today is about falling to my knees in tears, thanking my God that my family is whole. That my heart is whole.

Today I will pray for everyone who lost anyone or anything in any act of terrorism anywhere in the world. And I will never stop praying. And I will never stop being grateful.

"The Luckiest," Ben Folds.