Name: John A. Schardt
Killed at: World Trade Center
From: New York City
Oddwalk has signed on as part of the 2,996 Project. We were assigned to honor John, one of the many brave firefighters, police, EMTs and others who struggled to save people trapped in the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
In reflecting on that day, its causes, its repercussions... and in reflecting on this task, honoring the dead of that day, I (Orin) have returned again and again to the concept of understanding and finding common ground. Some may not agree with me, but as members of humanity, all 6,000,000,000 of us by definition hold much more in common with one another than do we hold those characteristics which may seperate us.
At the most basic level, humans want, in fact need three things: shelter, food, and security. It is the last of these three which is the least easily defined (possibly 'freedom from fear') and therefore (possibly) the least easy to maintain.
It is also hard for us sometimes, I think, to understand that we must not be only about our own security, or or local community's, but our mission must be about pursuing the security of every human being. Now that's a challenging, hard message.
As we all reflect today, let's remember, thank, and honor John, who specifically worked in that pursuit. Let us also reflect on what we might do locally to help bring about peace and security to all people everywhere. There may be no higher calling than to serve God in this way, by serving our neighbor.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."