Sunday, September 11, 2011
I Remember ... We All Do!
It was a typical day at the office. My job at LifeWay involved developing presentations for church clients, and I was diligently working away on the most recent topic when my boss, Mike Priest, came down the hall looking for a TV. When he popped into my office, he said, "The World Trade Center has just been hit by a plane." In my disbelief, I responded, "Mike, that's not funny." He went to say that his wife, Carolyn, had called and that he wasn't joking. I called Stephanie and told her the news. She hadn't seen it and tuned in to see what was going on.
Across the hall, Wayne Poling offered his TV. Reception was not the best on our floor, but we managed to get a clear enough picture to then see the second tower hit, people jumping from the towers, and then the two towers collapse. It was an awful day. Work came to a screeching halt; eventually I called it a day and went home.
On the way home, I called home and Stephanie and I talked about the day's events. We agreed on what and how we would tell our children. When I got home, the TV was still on, and Stephanie and I watched the news in horror, fear, and shock. It was almost surreal. The building that I had once been in, enjoying an amazing view of one of the world's greatest cities was now just rubble and history. By then, two other planes had been cited, one damaging part of the Pentagon and the other wrecking in Pennsylvania.
We gathered our children in the living room and we told them that some bad men wanted to hurt our country. We explained that they had overtaken planes and had driven them into the buildings. We didn't have all the answers to their questions. But as best as we could, we comforted them and explained that God was still in control. We ended our family meeting with prayer for our country, the families of those who had been injured and killed, and the safety of all of us here.
Over the next few weeks, all we could do was stay glued to the TV and radio. We could not get enough. What? Who? Why? How? All questions unanswered then, but eventually answered over time. Planes had been grounded, rental car companies were out of cars given to people trying to get home, and we knew that life, as we once knew it, would never be the same.
I remembered back to my childhood and my grandparents and dad talking about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I remember, even 40 years later, the horror in their voices and the gasps in their words. It, like 9/11 for us, changed their generation forever.
The real heroes of 9/11 were those who took control of that plane intended for Washington, DC. The heroes were those police officers and firefighters who risked their lives to save the lives of others. The heroes were those family members who survived the devastation of the loss of their loved ones.
As a nation, we're resilient. We survive. We persevere. This would be no different. Ten years ago today, we remember ... remember the horror and devastation, and the lives that were lost to the anger of a group of people who wanted to hurt innocent people. But also the lives that we can celebrate who were saved because they arrived late to the office, or like the husband of my friend, Cheryl. Sam escaped death by volunteering to get everyone breakfast for his morning meeting at the WTC.
Today, even with that horror fresh in my mind, I am grateful to live in the greatest country in the world. Yes, we have problems, but as a nation, we come together in a crisis. I'm very glad that we have been so blessed.
Will you take a few moments to remember? I remember ....