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.