I didn't read or watch a whole lot of coverage of the 9/11 anniversary.
To a large extent, I can identify with what a good friend and fellow reporter wrote on Facebook:
Truth: I want to forget what I saw live on television on Sept. 11. I want to forget that it brought April 19 back to life for me. I want to forget what I saw in person on April 19. I won't forget. I can't forget. But I really don't want to remember.
Like my friend, I covered the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The bombing was, until Sept. 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And like my friend, I still can't think about one without recalling the other.
But I did allow myself to digest one story timed to the 15th anniversary of 9/11 — and I'm so glad I did. I perused this piece because a faithful GetReligion reader shared the link and suggested that it really needed our attention.
"IT IS SO GOOOD," the reader said.
After reading it, I agree 110 percent. In fact, this is one of those cases where I really should just share the link and tell you to read it. No commentary necessary:
But since they pay me the big bucks, I'll go ahead and offer a few thoughts.
My main thought: This is an amazing story of love and loss and hope overcoming heartache. It involves a family of 10 children who first lost their father — a New York City firefighter — to the terrorism of 9/11 and years later lost their mother to cancer. Through it all, faith is the thread that knits the story together.
And believe it or not, CNN allows the role of that faith to unfold naturally and repeatedly throughout the entire, in-depth narrative. That's true from the very beginning:
New York (CNN) "Am I loving you enough? Are you feeling loved? Is your faith strong?"
Those are the questions Jean Palombo asked her 10 children in the years that followed 9/11.
Her eight boys and two girls ranged in age from 11 months to 15 years when they lost their father on that fateful day. Frank Anthony Palombo was 46, a firefighter, and the family rock.
Jean's worst fear was that someone would question her ability to raise her children by herself. That they would be split up, placed in separate homes, if the state deemed her inadequate. How could a grieving widow stand up to such an enormous task?
But Jean had grit. And she had faith. She relied on all of that, and then some. She thought of the love she and Frank shared for 19 years and the lessons learned. "God provides," he always said.
By my count, terms such as God, faith, church, Bible, prayer, Catholic and priest appear at least 35 times in the story as CNN highlights the religion angle in a way seldom seen in mainstream media coverage.
I could copy and paste more big chunks of the story, but I'm thinking my original idea was a good one: I'll just share the link and tell you to read it. Be sure to watch the video, too.
A final note: I'm a big fan of CBS' "Blue Bloods," which features a large, extended family of New York City police officers. The Reagans are Catholics and generally pray before their meal on each week's episode. Reading the CNN story, I couldn't help but think that the real-life Palombos could inspire a TV series of their own.