If you were to stand silently at attention for a single second for each and every person who died on September 11, 2001 at the hands of 19 terrorists, you would be silent for nearly 50 minutes. Fifty minutes – let that sink in for a moment.
While the terrorist attack happened on American soil that faithful day in September, its impact was felt around the world. Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington and in a field in Pennsylvania. America responded with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. For most, we can recall that day in vivid detail – etched forever in our very fabric. For some, the loss is unimaginable.
The impact of that single day wasn’t confined to the days or weeks that followed. The attacks cast a shadow over America, one that we have yet to fully emerge from. American troops invaded Afghanistan less than a month after the attacks, launching the longest sustained military campaign in our history. Life forever was altered. Innocents forever lost.
Immediately after September 11, two things happened. First, religious institutions swelled with an influx of people seeking answers and comfort. Not just the faithful flocked to the pews. People who had not given much thought to religion suddenly felt the need to look beyond themselves or even world leaders for answers and a sense of security. And America was united in ways not seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor. We were all Americans. Yet just as Pearl Harbor brought out the worse in some people (Japanese interment camps), there were those who saw all Muslims and those of Middle Eastern descent as the enemy. Some still do.
I will never forget a Muslim mother whose children attended to our neighborhood elementary school. I don’t recall seeing her before September 11, but I do remember her so well after the attacks. She stood out, and not because she was obviously a Muslim, it was more than that. It was deeper. There was the fear in her eyes as she made her way through the wave of mothers picking up their children. She hurried in and hurried out, protectively sheltering her children. She rarely looked up and held her children close. You could feel her fear. I think she was afraid someone might retaliate by striking out at her and her children. My heart broke for her family. Yet I said nothing. For that I am ashamed.
It’s hard to believe 20 years have passed. And in that span, we have moved away from our faith, moved away from our sense of patriotism and become a country I hardly recognize. September 11 Never Forget. And yet in many ways we have. We’ve lost our sense of unity and faith, while embracing instead anger and hate toward one another. Those in disagreement see their fellow Americans as the new enemy. We are pitted against one another. Our country is fractured and I pray Lord have mercy on us all.
Fittingly enough today, a day of Prayer, Reflection and Remembrance, is also National Hot Cross Buns Day. The symbolism is obvious. Traditionally eaten during Lent in many Christian countries, Hot Cross Buns offer some interesting folklore.
- Buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or mold during the subsequent year. (But I would not recommend eating a year-old bun).
- Sharing a bun with another ensures friendship throughout the coming year. However; there is an oath of sorts involved. “Half for you and half for me. Between us to, shall goodwill be.”
- Some believe because there is a cross on the bun, it should be kissed before eating.
- It was once said that if a sailor brought a Hot Cross Bun on a sea voyage, it would protect him.
- Finally, if a Hot Cross Bun is hung in a kitchen, it protects against fires and ensures that all breads baked in that kitchen will be perfect. That is providing the Hot Cross Bun is replaced each year.
Hot Cross Buns are typically made with raisins or currants. However; not everyone is a fan of shriveled fruits. Just ask Hubby. Blueberries on the other hand are a nice surprise, don’t you think?
Blueberry Hot Cross Buns
1 (1/4 oz) package Active Dry Yeast
1 cup warm Whole Milk (about 110-degrees)
1 large Eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/8 cup Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Pinch Ground Allspice
3 to 3-1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Blueberries
1 large Egg Yolk
2 tablespoons Water
Grease a bowl with oil for the dough to rise in, set aside.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, sugar, salt, spices, yeast mixture and 2-1/2 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries with enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Dough will feel sticky.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Place in the prepared bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Grease a baking sheet, set aside.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 12 to 15 balls. Place 2 inches on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 375-degrees..
Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on top of each bun. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water; brush over tops. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool slightly.
While the buns cool, make the icing.
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons Whole Milk
In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar with enough milk to reach desired piping consistency. Pipe a cross on top of each bun. Serve warm.