The details of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the plane crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, will be remembered at length this week.  What, when, how and who will dominate the headlines.   As people across the country head to churches, temples and mosques this weekend, they will once again wonder why. They will look to the pulpit and listen for an answer.

This week, clergy of all faiths are preparing answers as their congregants ask why 9/11 happened, how it should be remembered and what their response should be as they go out from their sacred space and back into the secular.

For some, there will be calls to patriotism among the prayers.  Others will shy away from country.

The remembrances cover a wide variety.  Some churches will bring care packages to first responders, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles will be packed for a prayer service Saturday, and there will be hundreds of churches simulcasting services featuring megachurch pastor Rick Warren or other famed clergy.

We spoke with clergy of many different faiths, in many different parts of the country, and asked how they were preparing and what they would tell the faithful as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 falls on a Sunday.

The Rev. Rich Smith had just arrived as the pastor of a church in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., in 2001.  His first Sunday was September 9, 2001.  On the morning of the 11th, they were planning for the next service.  “A lot of that had to go out the window,” he said.

He was fortunate, he said, because no one from the church died in the attack.  A family joined later and the husband, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, was at the Pentagon when the plane struck on 9/11.  “He described running as the floor was collapsing behind him,” Smith said.

Smith said that 9/11 “affected the whole nine years I was there.”

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