September 11, 2001, was chaos, sinister dust, mangled hunks of machinery, and primeval noises that sounded as if they came from the fiery, violent birth of the planet. That’s what made the morning scary. It was the jumpers who gave the day its humanity.
From the ground, it was impossible to imagine the hell going on inside those skyscrapers-turned-ovens. But when people appeared in the windows””91 stories high, with black smoke licking up into the air behind them””suddenly the enormity of the morning became clear. In the final seconds of life, by holding hands, a simple act of love, they denied evil.
Still, actual forgiveness””even for the most devout among us””remains elusive. “Some people say, ‘I forgive them,’ and they say it so quickly,” Fr. [Patrick] Ryan observed. “I don’t know that I can say it so quickly.”