Pray for Peace

Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States. This event, the ensuing violence in the Middle East and the constant threat of terrorism has defined our generation. We were young when this started. This is the world we grew up in. This is the world we are now responsible for.

As we look back on the tragedy of September 11th, we are unfortunately faced with another tragedy – the crisis in Syria. The violence in our world isn’t ending. Twelve years ago, we were the victims of an evil disregard for the sanctity of human life. Today, the Syrian people are being victimized by their own violent government. And every day, across the globe, innocent people are hurt and violated. We should not avert our eyes from them, but instead realize that we, too, know the pain of unwarranted attacks. The pain of losing loved ones. The pain of seeing evil in our world.

I hope this realization will increase our empathy for those who are still under attack around the world – those who must live under constant threat of violence and whose basic human rights are violated. Watching President Obama’s speech last night, I realized there is no easy solution to this situation. Do we do nothing or do we attack? Is violence justified? What are we willing to sacrifice?

I do not envy President Obama and the world’s leaders their decision. I do think the President made a vital point, though, when he explained: “Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”

America holds itself to a higher standard. We expect courage in the face of moral violations. I think each of us can take this to heart in our daily lives. Have courage. Do what is right. Your actions may not solve atrocities taking place across the globe, but they will nonetheless improve this world. They will reduce the hatred that we too often see. The hatred that leads to all this violence.

As a Catholic institution, Notre Dame joins with Pope Francis in a call for peace in Syria and around the world. This past Saturday, September 7th, the University participated in a day of fasting and prayer for peace. A number of prayer services and events were held across campus.

As we look back on September 11th, we keep all those affected by the tragedy in our hearts. As we wait to see how America will respond to Syria, we pray for an end to and for the victims of the violence. We pray for those who act out of evil – that they may see how wrong they are. And let’s also pray for ourselves so that we may have the strength to end hatred and anger in our own lives and thus bring about a more peaceful world.


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