Leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths came together in Kirkland Sunday on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 to challenge Americans to find friendship and understanding with those of different cultures and beliefs.
Several hundred people gathered at the for the interfaith remembrance of 9/11, “Ashes to Hope.”
“Now is the time to reassess and rebuild our national community based on the facts,” said Jawad Khaki of the Ithna-asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest, based at the . “We need to join hands in this struggle against extreme elements in our society.”
The Rev. Marian Stewart of Kirkland’s , who organized the remembrance with Khaki and other local religious leaders, opened the service by welcoming those of all beliefs.
“Come, come, whoever you are,” she said. “We are a cross-section of humanity gathered here to form a sacred community, welcome. Into this community of love, faith and hope, welcome.”
The Rev. Stewart said those of all faiths, cultures, races and political parties were welcome, including, she added to laughter, “the tea party, coffee party and those who abstain.”
David McKay, Washington Stake president second counselor of the , led a prayer recognizing the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives during the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 and in the military campaigns that followed, as well as their families.
Khaki provided the introduction, noting not only the coming together that came immediately after 9/11, but also the fear and hysteria. He recounted the case of Salmon Hamdani, a Muslim and emergency medical technician who disappeared after 9/11. Authorities became suspicious and questioned his family about his politics and beliefs -- until his remains were found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
“His family could finally rest knowing he died the hero they knew him to be,” Khaki said, adding that at the same time “the worst terrorist attack in American history brought out the best in America.... We were united as a nation.”
Rabbi James Mirel of Bellevue’s Temple B’nai Torah delivered an inspiring account of the loss suffered by all Americans.
“Time does not heal all pain,” he noted. “Today let us pause to remember and recognize the magnitude of this loss” and “those who brought down Flight 93, those who rushed into the shadows and debris.”
Pastor Mike Anderson of Kirkland’s urged the crowd to make themselves uncomfortable by getting to know those who are different. He recounted growing up sheltered in a small Minnesota town, then moving here to the “big city.”
As a pastor, he said, he forced himself to live with the homeless in and to join a gay couple and their children for dinner.
“In the context of this awful event 10 years ago...we can wonder, where does peace start, where does it grow? And we can say it starts small, with two people. It took me a long time to learn this. There is great diversity here, and there is prejudice here as well.”
His experiences at Tent City and in “seeing the power of God at work in that (gay) family” gave him the “courage to speak out. The building of courage begins with friends, right here.”
The remembrance ended with Rev. Stewart encouraging the audience to come together.
“It is my hope that we can take this tragedy and rebuild broken relationships. We can do that by acting now. We can change the image of 9/11 from one of ashes and destruction to one of peace and hope.”
If you missed the remembrance, please take a look at the photo gallery attached.