Monday, September 11, 2006

 

I remember...

I remember September 11, 2001. I have only lived for 34 years, so I don't know what it was like when Kennedy was shot, or when "the Eagle (has) landed." And frankly, I never really understood when people, like my mom and dad, commented about how they will "always remember exactly what" they were doing during those moments. Sure, I remember when President Reagan was shot. I was in the third grade, and I didn't hear about it until 3:00pm or so. I remember when the Challenger exploded. I was sick that day, and I didn't go to school. I was on the couch in my dad's office, sipping Red Rock, watching the launch. Everyone else in the office was working and not paying attention to the TV. I remember sitting up very quickly and saying, "Uh, Dad, I think something bad just happened."

But I remember September 11. I remember what I was wearing (Old Navy bluejean overalls and a cranberry t-shirt), what I was driving (1994 Ford Explorer), where I was on the road (Old Salem, about 1/4 mile from our church), who was with me (Eli and Sophia, because Harrison was in kindergarten), and where I was going (to our church for a Precept Bible Study). I even remember sipping an English Toffee Cappuccino. The radio announcer from AM750 remarked that, "It appears that a passenger jet has accidentally crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. Since we broadcast from there, we don't have full details yet." I remember thinking, "How terrible. How could anyone 'accidentally' crash into something that size? I bet the pilot had a heart attack or lost control or something like that."

But as Bible study continued, it became clear that something more devastatingly horrific had happened. I remember our teacher, Barbara, removing her glasses and giving us more details:

*a second plane crashed into Tower 2
*another plane crashed into the Pentagon
*(at that time) approximately 22 planes were unaccounted for on radar

Barbara calmly said, "Ladies, we need to pray. Hold tight to the truth that God is sovereign and is not looking the other way." We went into the hallway to watch television coverage.

I remember standing against the wall thinking, "Should I check Harrison out of school?" (He attended kindergarten at our church, so he was in the building) I could not reach Rob on his cell, so I must admit I was growing a bit panicked. After all, the CDC is located in Atlanta, and wouldn't that be a likely hit too? As I watched the footage on TV, a retired Army colonel on staff at the church remarked, "We are at war. Strange thing though, we have no idea who our enemy is."

I remember finding out, later in the day, about United flight 93 and the heroes like Todd Beamer and others who gave their lives for others. I remember watching the footage of President Bush in that classroom full of elementary students as he was informed of the attacks. I will never forget the look on his face. I was proud, humanly speaking, of our President, but not for the first time, and certainly not the last. I remember the following night when Mr. Bush addressed the nation and how he kindly and respectfully greeted Mrs. Lisa Beamer. And her. Have you ever seen a more gracious and dignified widow? I remember President Bush's words that night and have been surprised that it didn't develop into Kennedy-like or Churchill-like mantra: OUR STRENGTH IS OUR RESOLVE, AND OUR RESOLVE IS UNWAVERING.

I remember when the first troops were sent out. I remember being filled with sadness for the families left behind, while at the same time being so incredibly thankful for the willingness of our soldiers to go. No matter what your political leanings are, the point is this: the people in our military are defending those who are unable to defend themselves. Thank you.

When my children see footage of this event and ask, "Momma, why would somebody do something like that?" I can only tearfully shrug. They do not understand the full implications of total depravity, or that it lurks in everyone's heart, not just those we can easily call "enemy." But I can, and do try, to point them to the gospel and to the glorious cross and to Jesus. And I tell them, "Remember."

Comments:
Great post...
 
Do you have a way with words or what?!?!

When you wrote your blog url on the board, I figured I'd check it out. My mom has on too. Not sure what it is, though.

See you at school Monday!

~Corinne Rogero
 
Sherri,

Like you I will NEVER forget where I was and what I was doing...

I was homeschooling Corinne, Christopher and Jerred in our house in Gwinnett County. My husband yelled upstairs(he worked at home),"I think you'd better turn on the news!" I told him I would when we took a break. He yelled again, "A plane hit the World Trade Center."

Not one to be flexible about interruptions, I continued with our lesson thinking that a small plane had probably struck the WTC and when I had a chance I would turn the TV on. Curiousity got the best of me and I turned on the television. I was in disbelief with what I saw....

Three of my family members worked in NYC. My dad worked on the floor of the NYSE and traveled the underground rail system into the World Trade Center every day. He had just retired in July and was safe in his Allentown, PA home. My sister Jenny worked in mid-town and was on her way to work that morning. We couldn't get in touch with her. My step-brother, Gary, worked in the first building that was hit...on the 100th floor.The phone lines were jammed and we couldn't get through to his wife. My step-father was on Cape Cod vacationing and didn't have a cell phone. I sat motionless in front of the TV watching the events unfold and hoping Gary got out safely...there was no way to tell.

Jenny finally called and said she had been one of the people fleeing over the Brooklyn Bridge. Covered in smoke and ash, she'd saught shelter in a coffee shop to flee the debri and panicked crowd.

That day also happens to be my husband's birthday and we'd planned dinner out with an older couple, friends of ours from church. I didn't want to leave the house or the phone for fear a call would come in saying that Gary had been found. Our friends convinced us to keep our dinner date and to bring my cell phone with me. There was nothing I could do a zillion miles away in Atlanta. At 8pm, a call came from my sister in NJ saying they still hadn't heard from Gary and that he could be in a hospital somewhere...she was going to NY in the morning to look for him and pass out flyers.

To make a long story short, I don't think I left my house for three days. I sat in front of the TV and by the phone waiting for the call to come, letting me know Gary was OK. It never came.

My mom had died three years before of a brain tumor and now Gary was presumed dead. It was quite an interesting time in my faith walk and I felt very alone. With three young children and a husband who'd never experienced loss, God had me right where he wanted me...just me and Jesus to sort through all of the emotions.

Unfortunatly, my husband's birthday will always be a memory of Gary's death...the day the world stopped for a time; a day in which life as we knew it would be changed. But, I saw God it the midst...protecting my Christian dad, giving my agnostic sister a second chance to find Jesus(still praying about that one), allowing Gary's wife to be near her parents(they'd just moved into their new home a year before)who would care for her family, giving Gary and his dad quality time the week before as they traveled out of state by car to a family event and so many other things I could list here.

Life can change in a moment, but thankfully, God never does. He's there for us always and we have only to turn to Him.
 
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