The Leadership Lessons of 9/11

This week is a sober one as we look back on the tragedy of 9/11. I'm amazed at how many of the memories come flooding back as I read the article and watch some of the clips. I recently read through my copy of World Magazine, who did a fantastic job with some original reporting and retrospectives. 9/11 offered some powerful lessons in leadership. Most everyone, outside of the leftwing fever swamps, agrees that President Bush and Mayor Rudy Guliani were exemplary in their leadership after 9/11. You may not agree with all of their politics or perhaps decisions made afterword, etc. but in the days after the tragedy, America was led well. What does 9/11 teach us about leadership? I've found three compelling things: Leadership is facing unknown crises. We typically select our political leaders based on a whole host of reasons, such as their position on health care, moral issues, fiscal...

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How Should We Remember 9/11?

I’ve been thinking, the last few days, about how we should commemorate 9/11. It was such a pivotal time in history, especially for my generation. I was twenty-three when the Towers fell. I remember it being the moment we no longer felt isolated and safe in America. All the bad news had always happened overseas. Our wars were fought across a big ocean. But on 9/11 the enemy pierced that bubble and attacked us at the heart of our financial district.

I remember reading, over and over again, Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah 

This word from God gave me great comfort in the days after September 11th, reminding me that our military superiority, our system of government, our way of life–when these all come crashing down, God is still God and still on the throne. It began a journey, in me, of strengthening my theology, forcing me to wrestle with the big questions of God’s character.

I think we should remember 9/11 in a few ways:

Yankee Stadium after 9/11

One of the most iconic moments in the days after 9/11 was when President Bush strode out to the mound at Yankee Stadium during the World Series and threw a perfect strike. I remember that moment like it was yesterday, the exuberance of the crowd, the sense of national unity. I have a picture in my office of President Bush throwing this first pitch. Here it is: ...

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