Five years ago today America awoke to catastrophe. Four airliners were hijacked by Islamic terrorists, three smashing into important and well-known American buildings representitive of the economic and military strength of the United States, one brought down by a group of brave strangers before it could reach it’s intended target. This is not going to be a dissertation on American foreign policy since the attacks, or a review of the plethora of 9/11 conspiracy theories of which one-third of Americans give credence to. It seems every generation has it’s “I remember where I was” moment. For my parents it was the JFK assasination. For my grandpartents it was Pearl Harbor. When you look back at these moments in history, you can see how they were a jumping-off point for a change in our nation. With only five years’ perspective, it’s impossible to really know where the events of 9/11 will eventually take us. So, today is not the day for that. Today is a day to remember those who died and to pray for thanks that it hasn’t happened again, and to pray for wisdom for our leaders and for ourselves.
I remember that morning vividly. The radio woke me from my sleep and, as usual, I did my best to ignore it. Jen had already gotten up and was in the shower. As I laid there in a quasi-awake haze, certain words from the radio announcer were becoming clear. “World Trade Center” “Airplane” “Crash” Not sure if what I was hearing was real or a dream, I sat up and turned on the TV to see what was happening. The TV was tuned to ABC and the image of the first smoking tower. Peter Jennings was reporting and I remember him saying that it wasn’t yet clear if this was an accident or a deliberate act. I watched the smoke billow from the gaping gash not sure what to think. I can’t remember when the second tower was hit, but I remember coming out of the shower back to the TV and there was a fire reported at the Pentagon, later confirmed to be a third plane crash. I remember turning to Jen and saying, “What in the world is going on?” I’ll never forget that morning.
I tried to go about my day as normally as possible. I went to work and I went to my class that evening. Every free moment was spent glued to the radio or the TV waiting for news of another hijacked plane or any clues as to how, who, and why. That evening and the next day stories of the heroics on United flight 93, and of the New York police and firefighters began to surface. On a day of tragedy they were bright lights through the smoke that gave people hope.
Many sought comfort in God, I being one of them. Though our world can be harsh and seemingly chaotic, knowing the God is ultimately in control gives a peace that would otherwise be unfathomable. How can you believe God is good and in control if He allows such suffering to go on, many would and do ask? The short answer is that God allows man a free will, and man is corrupt by nature (Jer. 17:9), therefore man causes suffering for his fellow man. (Click here and here for a longer, better educated answer) I know that Christ has already won the victory over sin and that one day all the suffering will be over for those who have put their trust in Him. So why worry?
They say it’s therapuetic to talk about things that weigh heavily on a person, and while I don’t spend much, if any, time worrying about future terrorist attacks, on this day I think it’s appropriate to initiate some dialog. What do you remember about that day? Where were you when you first heard the news? How did you react? And the classic, how did it make you feel?