Current Thoughts–Tomorrow will be a day of remembrance, honor, and reflection. Though this post was originally written last year, it still bears re-posting. My Dad passed away in April of last year. That being said I don’t think I could even begin to understand the pain the survivors, rescue heroes, and the families of the killed or wounded have gone through these past TEN years.
One of the best ways I’ve ever heard to describe what loosing someone feels like was said on the TV show Flashpoint. The quote was this–“But I do know what it is like to lose some body, who had absolutely no business dying, and not to have a chance to say good-bye, and to be disgusted with people for just walking down the street like the world is the same place, that if you have just done something different, he still might be here.” The words/feeling that I associate with this day are pain, violence, God’s goodness, heroes, heroism, love.
It’s 9/11 and everyone in America knows what that means. Nine years ago America suffered the worst attack on our homeland soil, since Pearl Harbor. September eleventh, will always be a where were you when moment in history. But it will also always have a deeper emotional meaning for all of us that are old enough to remember that day.
On that day I was 17, and working at a church daycare about thirty minutes away from my house. It started out as just an ordinary day, as I’m sure it did for every other American. The other teachers and I had just finished giving the kids their morning snack, when the youth pastor’s wife came in to the lunch room, and told us that a plane had hit a building in New York.
Thinking it was just a freak, but horrible accident, we kept on with whatever we were doing. Then she came back and said a second plane had hit another building. That’s when I started wondering what in the world was going on. And when she came back to us and said the words “we are going to war, they hit the Pentagon”, I knew that this wasn’t just a coincidence or an accident.
Asking the parents as they came to pick up their children, what was going on, I got several different answers. We were going to war, the President and Vice President had been hidden underground, no one really knew what was going on. I still didn’t quite believe it, until I got into my moms truck to go home (she worked across the street from the church at a doctor’s office). I asked her if she had heard anything about planes crashing into buildings. She said “it’s been all over the news”, and then I knew it was real.
We rode home listening to whatever radio stations were covering the tragedy. After watching a little of the news on the TV, we went to our church, cried and prayed. Fliers had been put up all around our town, advertising a community wide prayer service to be held at the park that evening. A lot of people were there, parent pushing their children in strollers, different churches, different people, all anxious and worried, all needing to do something.
The next few sad days were spent watching people show pictures of their loved ones to the news media, asking that anyone who knew anything about them call in. The networks also showed interviews with offices that had lost their employees. Co-workers had to attend so many funerals, they started dividing them up, half the survivors going to one service, the other half to the other, and so on.
Story after heartbreaking story emerged about the heroes, who consistently though of others first, and gave up their own lives to save another’s. The firemen, police men, paramedics, officials, engineers, church leaders, civilians, and restaurant and businesses that fed and offered supplies to the rescuers deserve our heartfelt thanks and respect.
A beautiful thing came out of 9/11 though, America came together, even if it was just for a little while. We put out our flags, helped our neighbors, attended church more, prayed harder, smiled easier, watched the kids around us closer, teared up at The National Anthem, ate our freedom vanilla ice cream, and asked for freedom fries at restaurants. We did everything we could to show that although 9/11 had knocked us down, knocked the wind out of us as a nation, with God’s help we could persevere, we were Americans.
I witnessed a moment that I will also never forget, while attending our annual Texas state fair the month with my family. One of the big draws that weekend was the Texas vrs Oklahoma game, and I’ll admit the rivalry between us can get a little heated at times. A little while after entering the fair grounds, we came across a bluegrass band that was playing patriotic music. As they played The Battle Hymn Of The Republic, both Texas and Oklahoma fans removed their hats, put aside their differences and sang together.
Because at that moment a football game seemed trivial, and what state you were from didn’t seem to matter. All that mattered was that we were there together and we were still America, the land of the free, and the home of the brave! May God continue to choose to bless America.