Nine eleven. Forever I will remember the images of that day. And the emotions. It is, perhaps, my generation's Kennedy Question. "Do you remember what you were doing when you heard that two planes had flown into the World Trade Center?"
We were living with JD's mom at the time. I was getting ready to go to Women's Bible Study at Cedar Valley Church. I usually have the radio on while I get ready and they were not playing any music. Not really listening to what they were saying, I changed the station trying to find some music. No one was playing music, so I started listening to what they were talking about. When they mentioned that all the TV channels were showing a planes flying into the WTC buildings, I went into the living room to turn on the TV and told JD and Doris what I'd heard. We sat around the TV and watched over and over again the planes fly into the buildings. Then, as one reporter was talking with the smoking WTC buildings as a backdrop behind him, one of the buildings melted into the ground. It was surreal. A building just melted into the ground and in it's place a cloud of ash. Then the second building. And the Pentagon. We were under attack.
At the bible study that morning, Kathy Strandquist led us in prayer for our country and the men and women of New York City and Washington DC. Every once in a while a lady who's job it was to watch the news and keep us updated, would run in with somewhat urgent but confused updates. There was another plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Dave Phillips, a friend of JD's from Wheaton, called JD to tell him that a baseball teammate of theirs had been on that plane, Todd Beamer. We later learned of his role in United 93 as the passengers bravely overtook the plane from the terrorists, and gave their lives to thwart a certain fourth plane-as-bomb attack. "Let's roll," he said. And they did.
JD flew to NYC that week to help with some outreach that Campus Crusade was doing. It was strange, as many times as I've flown and felt quite comfortable with air travel, to realize that planes were now potential weapons. You know that there's a chance of a crash. Now there's a chance of a plane-bomb.
JD's mom's house is right under the flight path of the planes from the Minneapolis International Airport. After a while you get used to hearing jets fly over at regular intervals and pausing in your coversation until you can be heard again. With all the planes grounded, the silence of the planes, the absence of the jet noise during those first few uncertain days was what was deafening. It was unnatural. Every once in a while we would hear a plane and I'd think, "I wonder who is in that plane and why they are able to fly, it must be important." And I'd pray for them.
I prayed as never before. And maybe never since. There's nothing like a national crisis to get you on your knees. A little fear for your future. It's amazing, though, how fast you can get back up from your knees when things start getting back to normal. Especially, I theorize, for those of us who watched it on TV instead of from our front door. It's a little scary to think that there are people out there who are probably plotting more attacks on our country. The more time that goes by, the more complacent our society gets, it seems. My kids, who were three, one and unborn then, will only know of the nine eleven terrorist attacks through those of us who went through it, wherever we were. I only hope they don't have to experience their own.
But I suppose crisis of any kind, whether national or personal is inevitable. Which is why my hope is in the Lord, the Sovereign God who is in control of all things. And that is the single most important thing that I can teach my kids, to put their hope in the Lord. Not in anything here on earth. Whatever happens, we can be sure of His goodness, faithfulness, mercy and love. Victory through His salvation is certain. Jesus attained it for us on the cross. Never forget.