Sunday, September 11, 2011

My September 11th thoughts...ten years later

Flags at half-mast today at the University where I work.

First, let me warn you that I have nothing of unparalleled eloquence to add to the remembrances and memorials of September 11, 2001. Others have put the overwhelming grief, the incomprehensible tragedy, and the unflagging determination and resilience of the human spirit into much finer words than I ever could.

All I can offer is yet another perspective, another lament for the countless lives lost and forever changed.

At 27, I look back on the events of that black day and see things differently than my 17-year-old self did. Back then, I mourned with the rest of the nation, without understanding--truly--the depth of loss that had occurred. I spent that day, during classes and then later at home, transfixed by the images on the screen...watching in mute horror as smoke filled the sky and ash rained down on one of the most vibrant cities in the world, turning the bustling metropolis into a gray shadow of itself.

But now, as the television stations have re-aired footage from that morning, I find I can't hardly bear to watch the images at all. I don't want to see the desperate people jumping from the towers, choosing in their final moments, to exchange one horrifying death for another. I don't want to have images replaying in my mind of grieving friends, family, coworkers, covered in dust, watching from the street below and powerless to do anything to help. I honestly don't think I could stand to see again the second plane, flying low and with a nefarious intent to topple the second tower.

These are important images. Crucial moments in our history.

They exist and are replayed so that we don't forget. Although, if I'm being honest...sometimes I wish I could. Because now, as a wife and a mother, my heart grieves again--and more deeply this time--for people who waited to hear if their spouses were okay. For mothers and fathers who sat by the phone hoping for a call from their children. For children, who lost their innocence, when they heard a parent wasn't coming home.

So on this ten-year anniversary, I just want to leave my thoughts.

We can never forget. Not just the atrocities committed on American soil, but those abroad as well. Terrorism is world-wide and people from all nations, all walks of life have experienced their own 9/11's.

We must pray. That God will heal, restore, and bless. And that through Him, the hearts of those seeking to do evil will be changed.

We must be thankful. I know I'll squeeze my daughter a little tighter and for a little longer tonight (and probably every other night to come), and while I know she'll protest and try to wiggle out of my grasp, someday she'll understand my reluctance to let go. And I'll make sure my husband knows that he and Brie will always be in my heart and on my thoughts, even--and especially so--when my own last moments come.

We must find peace. Things happen outside the realm of our comprehension, of our ability to deal with them. So to close this post, I end with my favorite Bible verse:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

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