On the events of September 11, 2001
(Journal entry actually written on 9-11-2001)
8:55am Unbelievable. A plane just hit the World Trade Center a few minutes ago. Had to speed dial Mom, my sister, and a couple of friends to tell them to run to the TV. They hadn’t heard yet. I think I was calling them for confirmation of what my eyes are seeing. I can’t believe it. I had to push the record button on my VCR. My Gosh. How could the plane have gotten so off course? What in the world? I’m glued to the TV as I watch. Lord, please help the people. Show Your miraculous power today. I pray the plane wasn’t a full passenger plane. Man, smoke is pouring out of the building. Lots of people work there. I know someone who works there. I’m stunned. Pray…
9:06am Uuugh! My heart is on the floor. I don’t get it….A few seconds ago, another plane hit the other twin tower. I’m numb. I watched it as it happened. I saw the plane fly right into the building. Clearly this is something horrible and hideous and sinister. Who is to blame? Who would do this? Lord, please don’t let there be any passengers on those planes. I feel like I’m in another world or watching a movie. This can’t be happening but I’m watching it live. Pray…
9:50am. I still can’t believe it and can’t pull myself away from the TV. People running everywhere. I believe I saw someone jump out of one of the windows. News people in tears. Confusion and chaos. Firefighters, Police… Someone has attacked NY. I pray my cousin Mark and family are ok. Greg works in one of those Twin Towers. Bush made the statement that we are under attack. Rumors of another plane crashing into the Pentagon. What can you do at this time but pray? People are just in total shock. Here…in America.
I am now watching one of the Twin Towers literally begin to collapse into a pile right before my eyes. Incredible. God… it’s falling right before my eyes… This big tall building…Lord, did folks get out? Another plane DID hit the Pentagon in Virginia. Whew…
The 2nd Twin Tower is now collapsing. Jesus! I’ve been praying…phone ringing off the hook. Sean’s family lives in NY. Rumors of car bombs and other hi-jacked planes. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I have to prepare myself to go into the office and counsel families already in crisis who will now have to deal with the insecurities and fears of today… How will I do it? God, it will be only through Your power- Your strength. Help me to put on Your strength today. I don’t have any… I have… I have… nothing without You. My heart is beyond heavy. Wow, I just can’t type another word- not another word.
I’ve been tempted not to write anymore in the midst of this tragedy- this attack on America- the possible loss of over 5000 lives- Mothers, Fathers, Husbands, Wives, Brothers, Sisters, Nephews, Nieces, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, Employees, Employers- every day people just going to work or taking a trip or trying to get back home to the ones they love-everyday people trying to live their lives like all of us- now trapped by debris, tons of concrete, consumed by smoke and fire, forced to face death- forced to be a tool to cause death- suffering what we can’t even began to imagine. September 11, 2001.
The image of the plane (which we now know had passengers) soaring across the sky and plunging into the Trade Center as well as the attack on the Pentagon is fresh in my mind. I sat there in my bedroom watching it as it happened live on television as I was watching The Early Show, preparing for my day, getting ready to cook my dinner to take with me to work…trying to eat healthy so I can live long… but… Destruction/death before my very eyes. The television news plays it over and over and over. There is no need for me to flip the channel for it is on every channel. Unbelievable! Indescribable! What about that 4th plane that crashed or was it shot down? Part of the time it seems unreal to me-like watching a movie or something. We had it on in the office, although Bev wasn’t keen on the idea. But we had to know. We needed to know. The office was kind of quiet… clients in disbelief… staff in disbelief. The world as we know it has changed.
Will everything turn back to life as we knew it? Probably not. Will I get on another plane again? Yes, but probably not very soon. Will I be overly aware when a plane crosses over our sky? Has America lost its innocence? Was America innocent in the first place? What about the kids? How are we going to explain this to them? How will we make them feel safe? Are we going to war? Will they draft my soon to be eighteen year old nephew? Will we win and at what cost? Will there be another attack on us? Am I afraid? What is God thinking? Has my faith been shaken? There are so many questions!
On this day I think all Americans have discovered a new meaning to the words of our Declaration of Independence which states that all men are created equal. No matter if we knew someone in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, or on the Airlines or not, no matter what our race, creed or color of skin, no matter what the age or gender, no matter how big or how small, we have felt equally attacked, equally afraid, equally angered, equally hurt- although we may express it differently. Although I am alive, sometimes I can’t help but feel as if part of me was on the 101st floor with Greg. He went to work today just like me. Is he alive? Is he trapped? Did they rescue him and we just haven’t heard? Each time I see a person holding, clinching a picture of their missing loved one, my heart aches with unspeakable pain. I’m literally left speechless. I’m reminded that it could have been anyone of us- any one of our loved ones. I pray for those trapped and for the families of those waiting to receive news on those they love.
As we search for answers, as America prepares to pursue our enemies who so boldly attacked us, I only hope that we don’t become like them. I’ve often been described as or accused of being deep- a deep thinker. I have sat and pondered what would make people hate so much with such intensity and passion that they would want to do this- that they would teach their children to celebrate this American tragedy- this terrorist attack on our soil and on our soul. But then it hit me- I don’t want to know. I don’t want to understand because I don’t want to be tempted to- I will not- I refuse to be reduced to hatred. I will not be brought down to their level. Yes, I’m so angered and I want justice but hate will not consume me!
Hatred- this kind of hatred is an all consuming cancer. It destroys the hater. It eats away at the very core of their being until they have been reduced to absolutely nothing. This form of cancer, unlike the ones we are aware of, is contagious. It infects. It spreads. I n impacts- it impacts even the children causing a continual cycle of disease. We must not let it infect us.
Over the last few hours, I have heard time after time on the news, where people on foreign soil have said, “They deserved what they got. Now they know what it feels like. The myth that America can’t be touched is put to rest.” Yes, they attacked us, killed our people with our own people and planes. They destroyed our buildings but they did not- they could not destroy or rob us of the things they envy most about us- our resilient spirit, our ability to hope when there appears to be no hope, our freedom-Yeah, our freedom. They tried to terrorize us but I will not be bound and enslaved by terror when God has called me to be free. They could not take away our love for our fellow man that continues to be demonstrated through the non-stop rescue attempts and through the outpouring of love and patriotism all across the nation. Patriotism is not enough. What they don’t realize is that we are a nation being called to repentance. We must answer that call. Our nation must return to our God. A government that stood divided on many issues must now find a way to stand united in prayer. We are many yet we are one. We are America! God bless America! America needs to bless God!!
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Awesome God, Creator of all things- You know my heart and the heart of all people. Comfort the hearts of the people of this nation that have lost loved ones and lost their peace and security. Wrap Your arms around us as we cry, as we stand speechless, as we attempt to comfort others, as we attempt to make sense of it all and move forward. Teach us what to say to our children so they won’t grow up afraid. Lead us and guide us. Be our God. Forgive us our sin. Help us to seek Your face. Let us regain our peace, security and our purpose in You.
God, You reign forever! Let Your justice flow down like a mighty river. In this horrific hour let us not be overcome with hatred and evil but let us overcome evil with good. Let Your people rise up and be Your example. Let us not be too quick to move or quickly moved by our feelings. But let us only be moved after we have acknowledged You. Let us be moved by Your word. Let us rise up with a deeper passion for the things of God, a deeper sense of purpose and unselfish priorities. We are Your representatives. Let us represent You well. Let us stand boldly in confidence knowing You are our defense (Ps 94:22, Ps 7:10), our shield and buckler and our strong tower (Ps 18:2). Let us put on the armor of God that we may stand against the wiles of the devi (Eph 6:11). We will not be defeated. We are not a defeatable people. Bless our President, our Leaders, our Rescuers and our Armed Forces. Protect them and give them wisdom, courage and strategic plans. Comfort their hearts and multiply the effects of the rest they are getting in this hour. Let them look to you for their strength and direction.
In this time, when every hour seems like a midnight hour, be our Comforter, our Counselor. Strengthen our hearts. When grief weighs down on us so heavily that we don’t think we can bare it, teach us to cast our burdens upon You. Lift us up. Remind us that brighter days- better days are ahead.
I pray for those who orchestrated this attack. Let them see that they have sinned against You and oh, how dangerous it is to fall into the hands of a mighty and angry God! Give them opportunity to be illuminated with Your word and Your presence. I pray that You will touch and change their hearts. Let their children and their children’s children not repeat this cycle of evil. But let them come to know the only true and living God!
Don’t let us give in to terror or be afraid of terror (Ps 91). Let us be reminded that You have not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). Now God, make us a better people. Make us a better Nation- stronger spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially. Bring us all to repentance. Bond our hearts together in Love and draw us and keep us closer to You!