CDA Connell’s Remarks at 9/11 Memorial Service
Hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio
September 10, 2021
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and friends — good evening.
I’d like to thank the Community of Sant’Egidio and Archbishop Paglia for this beautiful prayer service, and for the work that you do to promote global peace and fraternity.
September 11th is a day for grief and remembrance in the United States and around the world. We grieve the nearly 3,000 lives lost in an attack that Pope John Paul II called at the time “a horrible affront to human dignity.”
And we remember the heroic and patriotic people who rushed to help, selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way.
In his first visit to Ground Zero several years ago, Pope Francis met the families of first responders who died saving others on that terrible day. The Holy Father said he was reminded how acts of destruction are never impersonal or abstract – they always have a face: names of the fallen, family and friends who mourn their loss. But, he said, “the other face of their grief is the power of love and remembrance…amid pain and grief, we also have a palpable sense of the heroic goodness which people are capable of, and hidden reserves of strength from which we can draw.”
In recent weeks I have been truly inspired to see some of this heroic goodness in action. So many selfless people – diplomats, members of the military, and people everywhere of faith – have joined together to support the enormous Afghan refugee evacuation and resettlement process. As we did 20 years ago, we have come together in solidarity, as brothers and sisters, to assist those in danger and in need.
In the words of Pope Francis, the remembrance of this act of death and destruction can become a hymn to the triumph of life, to goodness over evil, and to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.
May the lives lost on September 11 never be forgotten. May we continue to renew the sense of unity, resilience, and hope that this tragedy brought to people everywhere.
And may God continue to bless those who work to advance peace and justice around the world.
Thank you, and God bless you.