It’s been 10 years since everything as we know it changed. We lived in a dream where we were immune to the problems of the world. Terrorism was a hypothetical thing that happened in other countries. This was America, we were strong, we were untouchable, we were safe. . . Then everything changed.
On September 11, 2001, over the course of 1 hour and 17 minutes, four planes crashed, changing our world forever. At 8:46 am (EDT) flight 11 crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. Then at 9:03 am (EDT) flight 175 crashed into Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. But it was not over, at 9:37 am (EDT) flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. And finally, at 10:03 am (EDT) flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The devastation that followed, was beyond anything we could have imagined in our worst nightmares. The two tower of the World Trade Center, as well as many other surrounding buildings, collapsed to the ground under the intense heat of the fires that burned. A section of the Pentagon was burned and destroyed. But these these losses were nothing. The greatest horror was that nearly 3,000 people died in a matter of a few hours. 3,000 people died! And if this was not horrific enough, it happened on American soil.
Our world had changed. We were in shock! We were angry! We were in tears. We were afraid. If this could happen, was anywhere safe. What were we to do?
Today, ten years have come and gone. Many have moved on with their lives. Many even seem to have forgotten. But can we ever forget? Ask anyone you meet, “Where were you when the towers fell?” My guess is that they will remember.
Alan Jackson ask this question in his song, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”
I remember the events. I remember where I was. I remember my reaction and the reactions of others. People became swelled with a patriotism as this country had not seen since World War II. People where driven to action through the compassion for those who had been lost and those who sacrificed everything. This was the best of people. But, we are only human, fallen and imperfect. Not all the reactions were good. I knew some individuals who were in United States studying, who wished to show their solidarity with America in the face of this tragedy. But when they went to the store to buy an American flag, they were confronted as foreigners who should go home. It was sad to see that a people who could be driven by so much compassion, could still be driven by so much fear. People became suspicious and fearful of those that were different and those they did not know. This was the worst of people.
So why should we remember? We remember not to relax in knowing it is the past, but to remain always vigilante that it might not happen again. We remember not to live in fear, but to honor the lives of those who put other first when they stopped the fourth plane. We remember not to seek vengeance, but to honor the lives of those who gave theirs to serve others.
As Christians we are called to live our lives in this very way. We are to be always vigilante because, as Peter tells us, our “adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking those he might devour.” We are called to put other first as Paul tells us to “consider others as more important than ourselves.” And we are called to be willing to give our lives for others as Jesus told us, “great love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
God of Our Fathers,
I pray for our nation. I pray for the continued healing of a wound that still seems so fresh. I
pray for true and lasting peace. I pray for the protection of our troops who each day, put their lives on the line to serve. I pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones, not only on September 11, 2001, but also in the subsequent resulting wars. I pray Lord for a nation in need of your healing. I pray Lord that we turn to you as our only true source of peace. I pray that we would call upon your name.
Lord, as we take time to remember, I pray that you comfort those who mourn their losses. I pray that your people rise up to give comfort and to meet the needs of our nation.
I pray Lord, for our leaders, that you would grant them wisdom. I pray that they would seek your guidance as they lead our nation forward.
Lord, I also pray, as you have commanded, for our enemies. I pray that they would know you. I pray not for their destruction, but for their salvation.
This I pray, in the name of your son Jesus Christ and through the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.