Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ten Years Later

It’s hard to believe 10 years have passed since that fateful day.  Like so many others, I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember hearing a local radio announcer say something about a plane hitting the world trade center, and then ANOTHER plane and I thought they were joking.  I remember thinking what poor taste it was to joke about a thing like that and just to make sure it was a joke I turned on the TV, and was so sure I wouldn’t see anything to confirm what I had just heard that I shut it off just as fast.  And then I realized it HAD been on the screen.  In that second of realization my world changed forever.

For the rest of the day I sat mesmerized in front of the television at work.  There was only one other employee on my floor that day, the rest were traveling and would be out for a few days.  My coworker Joan and I sat listening in stunned silence throughout the day.  It was just so hard to wrap my head around.  I had never even heard of Osama bin Laden.

Ten years later so much has changed.  We’ve been at war ever since.  Thousands of Americans have lost their lives as well as our allied forces from other countries.  Many civilians from the countries we have invaded have lost their lives.  Billions of dollars spent.  Our economy is in dire straits, at least partially due to the war.  Our futures seem to dangle precariously, particularly our financial futures.

We live in a world where ‘terrorist’ is a word we are all familiar with. We all know the significance of orange and red alerts.  We are familiar with invasive airport procedures.  We all live with the certainty that there are organized groups of people out there whose mission it is to do us great harm.    Were it not for the comforting hand of God and the peace that comes from knowing Him, I don’t know how I would survive.  All I know is the years ahead will bring more uncertainly and more struggle and strife.  God help us all.

We can, however, be thankful for the people and their brave spirits that have emerged from this tragedy.  I think of Todd Beamer from flight # 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania and his heroic last act to proclaim “let’s roll” as they took over the cockpit.  And the operator who prayed with him before the plane went down as well as his wife, Lisa, who became the iconic picture of survival.  I think of Lauran Manning and her incredible story after being burned over 80% of her body in the World Trade Center.  And all the other heros of the downed flights and all the first responders who put their own safety at risk in order to try to save others.  It was the worst of humanity and the best of humanity.  My heart goes out to all the survivors, those people who lost loved ones and to those souls that perished....may they rest in peace.