That day will live in infamy for all Americans. I can still remember that awful morning, waking up to watch the news and not being able to leave my TV as I sat in numb horror, watching one building fall…and then later another.
I remember the week after being somber and solemn. Everywhere you went, people spoke in hushed voices about the shocking event which had so suddenly changed our nation. Even on TV, there was no slapstick humor, even on comedy talk shows. Everyone was stunned.
I remember the eerie emptiness outside with air traffic ground to a halt. I looked up at a silent sky void of airplanes and helicopters…and it was a lonely feeling.
It is human nature to not miss something until it’s taken away. September 11, 2001 left us missing lots of things: security, peace, loved ones. In an instant, millions of lives were changed…innocence stripped from children, mortal lives permanently erased and those left behind shattered and scarred.
I don’t want to dwell on those dark days…though they were dark indeed. What I want to focus on is the aftermath…for life always goes on. What counts is how you react to adversity.
After a week or so of painful mourning, I distinctly remember my awe when I saw my first airplane in the sky. It was such a simple thing, but I still remember it. That tiny plane far up in the atmosphere was symbolic to me of hope and perseverence. That plane was as precious as the first blades of new grass that spring up out of a charred, blackened forest. Our nation had been razed by tragedy, yet new life emerged. We were not conquered.
When it hit me a little later about September 11th being 911 in numeric form, the numbers to dial for emergency, I thought it a bit ironic. Such great tragedy struck our nation that day; we were humbled and bent our knees in supplication to our Maker; there was even a national day of prayer afterward.
The emergency came, and we supplicated our God for help to move forward and heal. If we learn nothing more from September 11th than this, let it be that when tragedies strike—which they surely will—let our thoughts first turn to our Creator. Let us turn in prayer and spiritually dial 911 to be comforted and strengthened so that we may push up new sprouts out of the burnt ashes of tragedy and bring forth new life.