The morning of September 11, 2001, I had just arrived at the gym. I was told at the front desk that the aerobics class I normally took on Tuesdays was cancelled because the instructor was stuck in Washington D.C. Her flight had been delayed, for – to us – an unknown reason.
Fifteen minutes later I arrived home and flipped on the news. Matt Lauer was interviewing an author, when he interrupted the conversation to announce that a plane had crashed into a World Trade Center building.
That was the beginning.
Minutes later, I watched in disbelief as a plane flew into a second building.
Then we knew. Someone was intentionally killing Americans.
It was incomprehensible, didn’t seem real. I tried to reach my daughter, away at college in Pennsylvania. My son called from Maryland. Is this really happening? we kept saying.
When the towers fell, I became nauseous. This is what evil looks like, I thought.
By the time a fourth plane dove into the ground in Shanksville, I decided it was time to wake up my husband, who was working nights at the time. I hated to do it. He had served the Air Force for twenty years. He would be heart-sick.
I got him up, and together, we stared at the TV for the rest of the day. How could such a thing happen? We kept shaking our heads, unable to imagine the level of hatred that devises such a plan.
Through all the horror and grief, Americans united to support one another and stand resolute that this tragedy would not break us.
Today, I am praying for those who died on that day. I’m praying for their families. I’m remembering the days immediately following 9/11/2001, when the best of us emerged. We turned to God and each other for support and comfort and healing.
And yet, years later…we are again bickering about politics, economics, and social issues. It seems we have forgotten how easily we can be humbled when the worldly things in which we place our trust are destroyed.
The aerobics instructor returned safely to Florida to tell her story of how, after the first two planes struck, passengers in the airport were told to run from the terminal. With hundreds of others, she ran for her life to an empty field and waited for instruction.
There are many lessons from 9/11.
A frightening one is that evil exists.
The good news is that, in the end…God wins.