April 19th, 2019

As I sit here writing this, I cannot help but reflect on the significance of this day.

In Christianity, today marks Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay for our collective sins. In doing the research for my book, Where Was God?, I delved deeper into this horrific event. It is truly a very humbling experience when you realize just how much pain and suffering was endured for us. As much as I thought I knew the story, I came away with not only a deeper appreciation of what Christ did for us, but also a deeper understanding of the history behind it.  I think this is something that most people do not truly understand. Sometimes I feel that we treat Him as a mystical figure, instead of a historical one.

Sadly, most do not understand that there is history to the story of Christ. Among New Testament scholars, there is little doubt that Jesus Christ lived. While the most detailed story of Jesus’ life is contained in the four Gospels, they are not our only source. First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus referenced Jesus twice in his twenty volume history of the Jewish people. Additionally, Tacitus, the first-century Roman senator and historian, referred to Him in his history of Rome.  There are other anecdotal references to Jesus from a wide variety of non-biased sources. Even beyond Christianity, members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths also acknowledge the existence of Jesus.

If you are interested in learning more, I would highly recommend taking a look at, Where Was God?

Today also marks two very significant events in American History.

On April 19th, 1775, British troops, who had been sent to seize colonial weapons, fired the first shots of the American Revolutionary War, when they confronted about eighty militia members at Lexington, Massachusetts.  Eight militiamen were killed in the initial confrontation at Lexington, but upon arriving in Concord the English were met with a much larger force of around four hundred. These two battles would set the stage for the war that would ultimately secure American independence.

On April 19th, 1995, America was shaken to its core by the terror attack at the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This attack left nearly seven hundred injured and one hundred and sixty-eight dead, including four members of the United States Secret Service. At the time I was a member of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and was sitting inside a USSS Suburban, on a protection detail, when the call came over the radio about the attack. There are no words to describe the feelings you get, as you are processing the fact that your country is under attack, and wondering if you are next. It was an unfortunate experience I would face again on September 11th.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Santayana (Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense)

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The WTC Cross

The World Trade Center Cross - by Anne Bybee, Copyright © 2001

The World Trade Center Cross - by Anne Bybee, Copyright © 2001

When I was coming up with the design for the cover of, "Where Was God?" I wanted something powerful, something which would evoke the raw emotions that we felt in the aftermath of that horrific day, but also one that conveyed a sense of hope among the devastation. 

I think it is safe to say that all of us were aware of the World Trade Center Cross, the steel I-Beams that were sheared off at the joints, forming the shape of a metal crucifix. While doing research I stumbled upon an iconic photo that seemed to convey all of the elements that I was looking for.

After doing some serious internet sleuthing I was able to finally locate the photographer, Anne Bybee, who graciously gave me permission to use this extremely powerful photo for the cover of the book. I am deeply honored. 

Many have dismissed these 'crosses' as just the end result of metal fatigue, but to those of us who were there, they took on an entirely different meaning. They were hope, they were comfort, they were a reminder that we were never alone.