Where were you? What were you doing? These are the questions I keep hearing people ask as we have been leading up to this day. Has it really been 10 years? But it still seems so raw, so real, so hard. Hard to understand how it all happened? Why it happened? And have we learned anything from what happened? Like so many others I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. I had just dropped my daughter Kayla off at her middle school and was driving my daughter Ashley to her high school. My son Andrew was in the back seat waiting for his turn to go to school. We were listening to KLOVE when they mentioned that a plane had hit one of the towers? Ashley and I looked at each other but we just thought it was a small plane. In fact, after telling everyone about the plane, the radio announcer played a song. I don’t think they even knew the magnitude of the problem at that time. I dropped Ashley off and headed for home where Andrew grabbed his backpack and headed up the street to go to his school. I watched him walk up the street and turn the corner and then I headed off to work. At that time I was working at a television station. As I drove across town they announced on the radio that it was a large commercial plane that had hit the tower and that the 2nd tower had also been hit. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. By the time I got to work, everyone was standing in the lobby of the station watching it all unfold on the big screen T.V. I walked over to one of my co-workers and asked her what was going on. She just looked at me with tears in her eyes. The rest of the day was a blur. When I finally made it home I just wanted to hug my husband and children. Life suddenly was to scary, to sad, to hard and to filled with death and sorrow.
Years before I had watched in horror as the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed. I had held my then 2 year old son on my lap as mothers searched to know if their child was safe. I had watched children run from school buildings after shots from a gun had killed fellow students. I made sure that when my children went to school I told them “I love you”. Those attacks were from people who were troubled and broken. We prayed for them and for the victims and families. Those attacks, as horrible and awful as they were, were carried out by people who lived in this country. But 9/11 was different. 9/11 sent us into a fear that gripped our very souls. The people that carried out the attacks and hijacked those planes, hated us, all of us. That hatred killed almost 3000 people. Our country and the lives of the families and friends that were left behind were forever changed.
10 years ago we asked ourselves, “How do we get through this?” and “How do we go on?”. Today we continue to ask ourselves these very same questions. The wars still continue. Lives are still being lost. Memorials are still being built. 9/11 is not something that can be put back together, placed in a box, taped shut and placed on a shelf. 9/11 is a day that will remain in the hearts of everyone who watched it unfold. Whether you were running down the stairs of a tower to get to safer ground, looking at the blue sky in Times Square, were working in your office at the Pentagon or the Capital building, were receiving that final phone call from a loved one or taking your child to school, driving to work or watching it on television. Our world, our lives are different.
Did we get through it?
For some, their faith in God grew , but for others, their hatred for those who look differently, sound differently, dress differently and believe differently grew too. 9/11 brought out the best in people and the worst in people.
Did we go on?
We continue to go on and believe that somehow at sometime the fear that gripped our souls will lessen. That we will feel safe again. That the wars will end, the memorials will be finished and we will move out of the cloud of fear and into the light of security.
But that light of security can only come when we put our full trust and faith in God. God didn’t cause 9/11. But he did provide the angels who helped people get to safety. He provided angels who took charge in a commercial jet and diverted it away from our capital. It’s the God that sent angels to comfort those who were hurting with quilts, cards, prayers and anything else that was needed. And it is the God who continues to comfort us, strengthen us and guide us to that light. Where one day we will stand before Him and he will welcome us with outstretched arms.
Today may we remember those whose lives were lost and thank God for his comfort, strength and redeeming grace and mercy.