Monday, September 12, 2011

re-post of Duke Chronicle article

Speeches, Requiem honor victims and heroes of 9/11
By Julian Spector
September 12, 2011

Performances in the Duke Chapel Sunday highlighted a weekend of remembrance.

By Julian Spector [2]
September 12, 2011 Print Article [3]

As the sounds of a Mozart classic reverberated through the Chapel, the memory of 9/11 fittingly echoed.

Four choirs and a full orchestra performed Mozart’s “Requiem” to a packed Duke Chapel Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The piece was featured in many remembrances around the world after the attacks in 2001. The combined singers of the Duke Chapel Choir, Duke Chorale, Duke Vespers Ensemble and the Choral Society of Durham sang the piece with music by the Orchestra Pro Cantores of Durham.

In an address after the performance, Brodhead recounted the events of 9/11 and remembered the six Duke alumni who died in the attacks.

“The power to dehumanize is best countered by our ability to recognize and humanize others,” Brodhead said.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell highlighted the strong sense of community in Durham in overcoming the tragedy of the event.

“This community truly sets the bar,” he said. “I’ve seen what we can do when we put our minds together to solve a problem.”

And Muslim Chaplain Abdullah Antepli related the U.S. response to 9/11 to the biblical and Koranic story of Joseph, who when confronted with evil, told his attackers that with God’s help he turned their evil into a blessing. Antepli then asked if Americans could say “you wanted to divide us, but you made us even stronger.”

He noted, however, that recovery remains a work in progress.

“Ten years later as a nation, our water is still muddy and the dust has not yet settled from 9/11,” Antepli said. “God willing, we will get there.... we will turn these post-9/11 challenges into blessings.”

Dean of the Chapel Sam Wells delivered a meditation on the power of 9/11 and the ways in which people can transcend death.

“We live in a culture that is an orchestrated denial of death,” Wells said. “This was what made the hijackers of 9/11 so powerful.... they were not afraid to die. And so they acted beyond our society’s comprehension.”

Wells argued that the murderous power of the hijackers cannot be overcome by further death-dealing, but by transcending their power, as did the first responders at Ground Zero and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93. He noted that central to Christianity is Jesus’ transcending the power of death and that a requiem provides an opportunity to envision this transcendence.

“On 9/11, the hijackers manufactured death in unspeakable quantities,” Wells said. “But many people that day showed us how to die, how to transcend death and so how to dissolve its power. May our lives, and deaths, be worthy of theirs.”

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