It’s impossible for me to not think back to September 11, 2001 when this day comes around each year. What’s sad is it has almost become a cliché to talk or write or talk about it each year. I even hesitated writing this today because I fear of adding to the cliché, but I just don’t understand that. I know the horrible things that happened are now seven years in the past, but many people have strong memories of that day, myself included, because of the fear it struck in the heart of Americans. The kind of fear that makes people question things like safety, security, innocence, evil, eternal life, etc. It’s also the kind of fear that makes you remember. Similar to the way a person remembers vividly things from their childhood. Something so scary happened that it has been engraved in their memory, like a childhood nightmare or the first scary movie they saw — they can remember them like they happened yesterday and we can recall those kind of memories with strong detail.
Now here I am, seven years down the road and I’ve found myself thinking back to the phone call I got from my dad waking me up and telling me to turn the radio on (we didn’t have a TV) and it was the second day of my senior year of high school. After waking my mom up and getting the radio on we just started listening to what was unfolding. Without a TV, I don’t think I really fully grasped what was going on. I knew what the World Trade Center was since I had just physically seen them a few months earlier on my senior trip, but I can’t say I understood what was happening. Needless to say, I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was. My memories are recorded clearly on the film reel of my brain and there’s really no way to throw it out.
But what has happened with 9/11 is it has become such a political buzzword that we’ve forgotten what really happened. In fact, TV stations are told not to play the footage which aired all day back in 2001. I understand why they would do that. In respect to the families and those who died that day, it’s just the right thing for them to do. But Bethany and I just finished watching “102 Minutes That Changed America” on the History channel and it’s even more clear how much we have forgotten as a country. The show is real time, unedited footage (both professional and amateur) of everything that happened from the time the first plane hit until the collapse of the second tower. I haven’t watched a lot of the footage of 9/11 since 2001 and I can honestly say it was shocking. What was especially interesting was the way that people were feeling and reacting as everything was going on. People were scared, outraged, angry, and they were panicked. Some didn’t know what to think, but they all knew that something unlike this had ever really happened before.
As we watched, both Bethany and myself couldn’t help but think about eternal things. About a year and half after 9/11 we both went to New York on a missions trip together. Our team had the opportunity to meet and interact with people and families who had loved ones that died on 9/11. We were even able to go down to Ground Zero and see the hole in the ground as well as the memory board of faces, names, and letters to families and friends. During our time there the missions leader that lived and worked in New York for many years told us that he had never experienced a more open city to the Gospel. People needed answers and him and his church were there to tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ. People were now thinking about life after death and the missions workers and churches were there to tell them about eternal life with Christ. We too had that privilege to stand on the streets and tell people the Good News of Christ and the free gift of salvation only He can provide. He was the answer to their fear. He was the reason not to fear! Oh that the Lord would continue to turn around what man meant for evil for His glory. Oh that people would be reminded that there is more to this life then just this day and this world and that a loving Savior awaits to see them turn to Him. There is nothing to fear in the arms of the Savior! I thank the Lord today that I have been reminded of these things and pray that God would use this reminder for His glory.
Here’s a random sampling of what people remember seven years ago on September 11th (via Twitter):