September Eleventh, Two Thousand-One.
A day that will never forgotten.
Where were you? How old were you?
But I remember.
We were sitting in the waiting room at a hospital. My mother was pregnant with one of my little sisters, to be born the next year, and we were there for an appointment. My Dad, who has unusual schedule due to his job as a pilot, was with us that sunny Tuesday morning. Our phone later rang off the hook as friends and relatives called to make sure he was all right. To make sure that he wasn’t on a plane that day.
I was young enough that the little TV sets high up near to the ceiling didn’t completely keep my attention. As the news trickled in, another pregnant lady told my father more details. I’d never heard of the World Trade Center. I wasn’t that distraught. I was just a little girl, what did I know of national threats and terrorism? However, one of the strongest memories I have from that time in the waiting room, as we waited for my mom to be done with her appointment, was the distress my father was going through. As we sat there, his groans and sighs of despair impacted me. I will never forget them. But at the moment, I begged him, “Daddy, pllleasseee play doll-house with me.”
But he couldn’t. Thousands were being murdered before our eyes.
When we got home, we turned on the TV immediately. I remember watching over and over the replays of the second plane drilling into the second tower. Seeing the clouds of thick smoke. Watching the buildings collapse. The people running. Some with soot and ash covering their heads.
I saw the brutal attacks on this nation through my little girl innocent eyes. I didn’t realize the full gravity of the situation, although as the days and months followed, I began to comprehend it. I have never questioned why the President sent the troops into battle. It was to protect us from horrible things like those I saw with my seven year-old blue eyes.
I think that my family wrote letters to the soldiers that September day, to encourage and support them even before war was declared.
Last year I was privileged with the chance to tour the Pentagon. I walked through the area that had been destroyed. It was completely fixed. You can’t tell a difference, except for the fact that it perhaps looks a little newer. I saw many memorials inside, some official, and some simple things made and sent in by people all over America. I walked among the beautiful memorial outside, with a monument for every single child and adult that died there. The memories of that day drove it home hard.
Even though we were young, my parents explained what was happening to us. They did not try to hid it from us. And for that I am forever grateful. Because I can now say, eleven years and more than half my life later.
I still remember.
Not just because of the pictures or TV specials played on flickering screens years after.
I remember when it happened.
Horrific events like this remind us that our God is more powerful than all of the bad. And that He is the one who comforts. And that if we except His gift of salvation, one day we will experience freedom from this fallen world.
He will wipe away all of our tears. And turn our ashes into something beautiful.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
(This is a re-post of an article I wrote last year, with a few updates.)