The morning of 9/11, 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 canceled 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 there was an incident at 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 our daughter, away at college in Pennsylvania. Our son called from Maryland. Is this really happening? we kept saying.
When the towers fell, I sank to the couch. 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 in the Air Force for twenty years, and he would be heart-sick.
I woke 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, and I’m praying for their families. I am praying for the rescue workers, who continue to have physical and mental health issues. I remember the days immediately following 9/11 when the best of us emerged. We turned to God and each other for support and comfort and healing.
I will never forget that Rosie O’Donnell, who ardently disagreed with President George W. Bush on everything, openly and gratefully praised him for his immediate command of the situation. We were all afraid. Divisions melted away.
Yet, years later…we are again bickering about politics, economics, and social issues.
We have forgotten how easily we can be humbled when the worldly things in which we place our trust are destroyed.
If we don’t keep this in mind, I fear the reminders will keep coming.
My 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.
Due to free will, it will always be present. Scripture (1 Peter 5:8) warns us to be sober-minded and watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Countries and politicians and even friends & family disagree on how to keep evil at bay. Sometimes we win the fight; sometimes we lose.
We have experienced many battles since 9/11,2001 – continued gun violence, racial injustice, human trafficking, genocide, etc – as the fight continues. It’s easy to become discouraged when we see the copious ways we try to destroy each other.
My only hope comes from scripture as well, where Christ tells us In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. Even the evil of His horrific crucifixion did not stand; He overcame the grave to rise and redeem all of us.
In the end, justice will prevail. The heartbroken will be comforted. We have a mighty Creator.
The good news is that, in the end…God wins.
Nice, Mare. I love that photos of the fireman on the stairs going up and all the people are going down.
Craziness abounds says
I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I'm also an Air Force wife. Thanks for writing this.
Yes, God wins.
Susan Flett Swiderski says
A beautiful post about a day we'll never forget. Even if we want to.
Empty Nest Insider says
I know that this had to be difficult to write, but you managed to pay a loving tribute to the many heroes of that tragic day. Julie
Kenya G. Johnson says
Your last line gave me goosebumps. Absolutely – God wins. I was in living in your neck of the woods in 2001. It seems like the entire downtown was dismissed at the same time. I cried off an on going home – just in disbelief. From downtown to the Orange Park area it took almost two hours to get there. Most of that was just getting out of downtown.
God wins. Always. Terrific post! 🙂
I'm so glad you reminded us that God wins. I just finished reading about the ambassador in Libya who was killed just because someone posted an anti-Mohammed video on youtube. We are in a crazy dark world, but so glad to know in the end God will triumph.
Wonderful post! So good to hear your thoughts and be encouraged by this. Yes, God already has the victory, and that can be our comfort!
Jo-Anne Meadows says
I was at home getting the girls ready for school and giving my eldest her birthday presents her birthday is the 10th September but our 10th is your 9th. The girls had turned the telly on for some morning tv before school and all that was on every channel was the attack on the twin towels. I remember one of my girls asking if people were in the buildings and when I said yes they wanted to know if everyone got out and when I said no they hadn't she was so upset she didn't want to go to school but of course mean old mum made her go……..
M. J. Joachim says
Seems we all have our memories about this…
As I watch the news to learn more Americans died on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, I can only restate what you stated so well…
What a wonderful and powerful post. Yes, that day was horrific and will never be forgotten– but the aftermath of a country reunited was wonderful. And yes, people have forgotten too quickly. But you are right, in the end God will win.
Lynn Proctor says
"in the end…God wins."
Yes. Yes, he does. I'm keeping that in mind as we keep hearing of more reports of embassies attacked and people killed because a religious group is offended. It's senseless. But God will win out, no matter what.
Cecilia Marie Pulliam says
You are right, Mare. We must remember when facing so much evil in this world, we mustn't despair. God will win in the end.
And like every American, I remember exactly where I was that day. At work. We stopped all activity and watched the events unfold, sickened to see such carnage.
I pray that we never lose sight of that lesson, but I am so afraid our current society and political climate indicate we have.
Jen Forbes says
I was home with the tv off when my daughter Gretchen God bless her soul called to tell me to tell me to switch it on.
We spent hours,days weeks as news filtered in about family members who worked downtown about friends and acquaintances who were cops and firemen. Sadly not all the news was good. But you are so right this evil will not prevail because God wins that battle hands down.
Oh I love your last line! I'm in New York so the memory of that day is seared into my brain and heart. Beautiful post.
Beautiful post, Mare.
I was at home with the tv on, getting the girls ready for school and since your 11th was our 10th it was Kathy’s birthday as well so the house was crazy but like everyone else I was shocked and couldn’t get my head around it.
I had slept in that morning as I was scheduled for 11-7 shift that night. When I got up, I turned on the news and knew that something bad was going on. Shortly after I saw the second plane hit. Such a tragic day! I love the way you ended this though – God does win!
The kids were still asleep. I was folding laundry while watching the news. The same program you were watching. I called Bryan, where I found they were evacuating his building, since he was in one of the two (at the time) skyscrapers in the city, and his had an American flag flying on the top. I then called a friend of mine who I knew never watched the news and told her she would want to watch it that day. It was so unbelievable, watching it unfold from the comfort of my house. That night our church had a prayer service, and I was there.
God wins. He has to.