Monday, September 11, 2006

America Remembers

We were busy that day. We had several shows going out that night and into the next day. I was at my desk, printing off a load sheet for the next truck. Our Logistics Manager came rushing into the warehouse. "Hey, we gotta turn on a TV," he said "my wife just called and said an airplane hit the World Trade Center."

We pulled one of the many monitors off the shelf, plugged in the cable, and turned on CNN. The pictures were hard to believe. All the smoke and fire seemed surreal. We started speculating. What could cause a plane to veer into such a large building? It was a clear day in New York, so weather couldn't have been a factor. When the second airplane hit, I remember feeling confused. Everyone got real quiet. The idea that both were accidents was hard to comprehend, but the idea that it was done intentionally was even more incomprehensable. A newscaster from the Pentagon was live on the air when that plane hit. He reported a loud crash, and said the building shook as though there were an earthquake. We watched the towers burn. We watched them collapse. I had been standing in front of the television watching everything. When the first tower collapsed, I remember sitting down hard into my chair, feeling like part of me fell with the tower. All I could think about were all those people, all the families who had just lost loved ones.

Shortly after the second tower collapsed, we turned off the TV. Most of us went home. Day to day work seemed unimportant. I drove home listening to news radio, and I think I was too stunned to think much of anything. I got home and watched the news. I remember thinking that the people who did this must have been planning it for months or even years. Which made me feel so unsafe. This plan to attack our country had been unfolding in our country, and we knew nothing about it. I remember thinking that our ideas of safety are so false. That there is no true security or safety except what can be found in God.

As heartbreaking and devastating as it was to watch these events, I remember thinking that people in other countries suffer these kinds of attacks everyday, and that while I would never wish this on anyone and would never think we "had it coming", our belief that we're somehow immune was naive at best and arrogant at worst. I remember wondering how someone could be filled with so much hate as to carry out a plan like this.

As strange as it probably sounds, I felt deeply hurt when I saw the celebrations that happened in some parts of the world as news of the attacks spread. I know that some people hate our politics. But how could anyone celebrate the loss of innocent life? The people who died that day weren't responsible for the policies and actions of our country. I remember feeling hopeless as I watched those celebrations. No one who knows or understands the hearts of most Americans would be celebrating. It made me realize that many people around the world equate all Americans with our country's political policies and actions - whether we agree or not. It made me realize that we're collectively held responsible for the decisions that are made by our country's leaders.

I didn't cry until the day New York officials announced they were calling off the search for survivors. As they closed the door forever on the hope of survival, I again grieved for the families and friends who now had to accept that their loved ones were truly gone.

Today, five years later, I don't know if we're doing better or not. We seem to have made more enemies. Despite our best efforts, I don't believe we're any safer. People bent on destruction will always find a way.

Five years later, I'm more certain than ever that we can only find safety and security in God. I'm certain that He grieved with all the families and friends who lost people, and that He grieves with them today as they remember.


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