…I was walking to my 8am Spanish class at the University of Alabama. I remember that day very clearly. When I was walking from my dorm at Tutwiler to my Spanish class behind the Quad, I noticed how beautiful that day was. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was amazing. It was that fall weather with a slight breeze that made you want to close your eyes and jump into a pile of leaves. The kind of weather that we SHOULD be having now, but for some reason it’s still in the 80’s and 90’s.
In the middle of my class was when the first tower was hit. My teacher dismissed the class and I ran back to my dorm so that I could watch the coverage on TV. A terrorist attack hadn’t crossed my mind yet. I just wanted to see the footage. By the time I got to my dorm, the second tower had been hit and I knew it was on purpose. I watched both of the towers collapse in my dorm room at Tutwiler. I was watching with several people and our thoughts turned from “Oh my God I can’t believe this is happening” to “What does this mean? Will we go to war?”.
Flights were grounded. Cell phones were down. The country was in panic. The lines at gas stations were unreal. I remember seeing the footage of people jumping out of the building. I was speechless. I didn’t understand what our country did to deserve being attacked and suffering such a loss of life. I am blessed that I did not personally know anyone that lost a family member or loved one that day, but the television and radio was full of interviews of widows and children that lost their parents. Lots and lots of emotional songs began being played on the radio with inserts of people talking when no lyrics were being sung. The inserts were from interviews of family trying to find their loved ones, 911 calls from people on the planes or in the towers, speeches from George Bush and Rudy Giuliani. It was hard to even listen to the radio and not cry for several weeks after that day.
If anything came from this day, it was unity. A unification of our country and an indescribable amount of reliance on prayer. I truly had never seen or heard people on TV and radio talk about God more than they did that day. Our country used prayer to get through that day. George Bush declared September 14th a day of prayer, a rather risky thing to do in a country where our children are no longer allowed to pray in schools.
I know that in 10-15 years, Carter is going to come home from school with homework to do a history report on this day. And he’ll have to interview his family members that experienced it. How do I explain to him the impact of this day? Will he ever truly understand just how much our country has changed since then? Will he care since he didn’t live through it?
The world stopped on September 11, 2001. And even though the rest of us have moved on, the world of the families of those that lost their lives have never recovered. We’ve all made such a huge deal out of this 10th anniversary, but the widows and children and parents of the fallen have dealt with this every single day for the past 10 years. There are children who were in the womb 10 years ago that have never met their daddies. The thought of that puts me in tears. I’m 6 months pregnant and if I lost Justin right now, my world would never recover. How do you a raise a child that will never truly understand how wonderful their dad was and the things he did to save other people on that day, especially the fire fighters? I can’t imagine. The fact that Justin flies as much as he does scares me. It didn’t start scaring me today, it’s scared me since we started dating almost 4 years ago. Even though I know the odds are that nothing will ever happen to him, it doesn’t take fear away. Every single time Justin flies, I pray for his safety. I make him text me the second he gets on a plane and the second he lands so that I always know where he’s at. I’ve forced him to start praying when he gets on a plane that he will get to his destination safely, for my sake. My heart literally aches so bad that I can’t breath when I think that Justin could be on a plane if this were to happen again.
We are all so blessed to still be here and to not have had to experience this first hand. Others are certainly not so lucky. We discussed 9/11 this morning in Sunday School and read the following verses, and they’re good ones to keep in mind when thinking of such suffering and devastation as this:
- Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. – Matthew 28:18-20
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” – John 16:33