All hands were on the Cross as we raised it up against a backdrop of marbled sky and misty sea. Father William Kerzy of Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church conferred a blessing on the Cross, praying for the peace that all of us seek; Jon Krawczyk followed with his own heartfelt words of what this Cross and this Journey mean to him.
The wonderfully receptive, visibly moved crowd took pictures, held pieces of steel recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center in their hands and placed hand-written prayers inside the body of the Cross, where they will remain forever, just as those thoughts and prayers will remain in the hearts and minds of those offering them up.
'I didn't know what this was all about,' said Bob Fidani of Squad 88. 'None of us did. But this is amazing; thank you so much for inviting us down.'
'No one will ever forget, but memories do fade,' said fellow fireman Dave Salhus. 'Driving this cross-country is going to make a huge impact; it will remind everyone what 9-11 was all about.'
Once again our firefighter friends were more than eager to help us carry and raise up the 500-pound Cross, and after a round of applause from the intimate crowd Reverend Georgiana Rodiger said a prayer and blessed the Cross with holy water from the Jordan River. Jon Krawczyk again offered his thoughts on the significance of the project, hoping that everyone who ever looks upon this Cross will reflect on their own lives and think of their place in a world that is bigger than any of us. Lee Spiro followed this with words of hope, adding his appreciation for all the support he received as he worked with Jon in turning this idea into a reality.
People in the crowd laid their hands on the Cross and spoke with Jon, Lee and each other; they held the pieces of the WTC steel in their palms. 'This is unbelievable,' said Jon Krawczyk's friend Dean Singer as he cradled one of the pieces. 'You really can feel the weight of this thing.' In his eyes it was clear he was speaking of more than just the physical weight of the chunk of history he was holding.
We discovered that some of LA's firefighters would soon be embarking on a bicycle trip across the country, to arrive in New York City on September 11th, the ten-year anniversary of the attack. And there are many others, perhaps, with a journey of sorts, waiting to be taken.