Several hundred people of various faiths, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities gathered together at the Decatur Hotel Ballroom in downtown Decatur, GA yesterday evening to commemorate the tragedy of September 11, 2001 — and to celebrate and work toward a brighter future based on cooperation, dialogue, peace and understanding. Sponsored by a consortium of organizations including the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta and the Interfaith Community Institute, along with an assortment of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities, this program — part ceremony, part rally — brought members of all the above faiths, along with Unitarians, Bahais, people with no faith, and (I would assume) others, together for networking, small group sharing, storytelling, a moment of silence, remembering, and — perhaps most important of all — hope.
My friends Gareth and Br. Shankara were part of the organizing committee, and another friend, Phil Foster, read a poem, “For the Falling Man,” by Annie Farnsworth from her Bodies of Water, Bodies of Light. This moving work pondered the humanity behind those who fell (or jumped) off the Twin Towers, plummeting to their death on 9/11. Phil was joined by renowned storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy, who read from her lovely book, 14 Cows for America. As you can see in the photo, the evening ended with a candlelit chant for peace, the participants holding their tapers high in a gesture of hope. I stood arm in arm with Gareth and Br. Shankara, a Buddhist, a Christian, and a Vedantist, three brothers from different mothers. It was a lovely evening.