Monday, September 11, 2006

Tribute to Christopher Stewart Gray


I remember what it was like to be 32 years old. That was back in 1994, when the threat of radical Islam was lurking in the background noise of the ‘90s. Christopher Stewart Gray was 32 years old, working as a foreign exchange broker the morning when radical Islam visited the 21st century, changing America forever.

Christopher Stewart Gray died on the 101st floor of the North Tower five years ago this morning. I try to picture what it was like for Christopher, at his Cantor Fitzgerald desk in the World Trade Center that sunny September morning. He was to be married in May of 2002. Was he able to call his fiancée before it was all over?

I never met Christopher Stewart Gray, but he has been in my thoughts over the past few weeks since I signed up to remember him in words on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attack. In a pharmacy the other evening, I was paging through the LIFE magazine 9/11 special issue when the dichotomy of Christopher’s life and the lives of his killers struck me. Here was a guy who was a fine collegiate athlete, a fun-loving buddy to his friends. He had a promising career ahead of him in finance. The 9/11 hijackers were bitter losers and followers of a dead-end death cult.

I looked into the eyes of Muhammad Atta on that page of LIFE magazine and saw hatred beyond belief; hatred of modernity, hatred in the name of Allah. This barbarian hatred killed Christopher Stewart Gray. God rest his soul.

As we remember Christopher and all the others with families and kids and fiancées who perished on 9/11/2001, let us pray for the conversion of those who, paraphrasing an al-Qaida spokesman, love death more than we love life.

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