a few years ago, on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, I wrote my seventeen-year-old heart and soul into an article. this morning I went back and found it, and now I want to share it again.
I debated whether I should retouch it or add more, but honestly, I think I said it all the first time. maybe in a simpler, less rambling way than I would now...
but somehow that's okay.
I kicked it into auto-pilot as I automatically reached for my sandwich, mechanically shoved a bite into my mouth, and instinctively chewed. swallowing required a bit of manual strength as my pb&j reluctantly slid down my throat.
you see, lunch had suddenly became a chore as I listened with all my might to what my dad was telling us. and swallowing had become extra difficult because of what he was saying.
you are aboard United Airlines Flight 93. it is the year 2001. and the date is September 11. you have two sons at home and a wife who is expecting your third child. you are thirty-one years old, went to high-school at wheaton academy, and were known as the soccer player who was always smiling.
your name is Todd Beamer, and your plane has just been hijacked by terrorists.
now imagine this:
your name is Lisa Jefferson. you are a supervisor for GTE and the man on the phone with you is disappointed that you are not able to connect him to his wife. this man is aboard a hijacked plane and quickly relates to you how a passenger has been stabbed to death, the pilot and co-pilot were kicked out of the cockpit and possibly injured, and the plane has just taken a south-easterly turn. he also informs you that he and the other passengers are planning a revolt. they have heard what happened earlier that morning in New York and at the Pentagon and are ready to die if it means saving more lives.
now imagine this:
you hear Todd Beamer say, “are you guys ready….? then let’s roll.” and those are his last audible words.
United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. all 40 passengers and crew members onboard were killed. but how many lives did they save? speculation is that that plane was intended by the terrorists for Washington D.C. and possibly for the white house.
my dad knew Todd Beamer. he went to school with him, and my dad was the one who recalled that Beamer was a soccer player, a good kid, and one who was always smiling.
Beamer was not a fictional character. he was a real-life, living-breathing hero. and he wasn’t the only hero on that horrendous day ten years ago.
many others sacrificed their lives in order to save others. many firefighters’ wives went to bed that night without a husband and many moms and dads suddenly became single parents because their loved one had put others first.
it was a devastating time.
but in the midst of the devastation, people came together, worked together, cried together, rejoiced together, and prayed together. our nation cried out to God. during the seventh inning stretch at baseball games, we stopped singing, “take me out to the ballgame” and began singing “God bless America”. people were down on their knees praying to God for help. everyone seemed to sense God’s presence and many turned to Him in their bitterness and sadness.
ten years later, have we strayed from that? have we forgotten what it means to rely on God? it would seem so. our nation has become like the Israelites in which we complain to Him and run to Him in the hard times, but when things seem under our own control, we think we can handle anything and don’t need to be dependent upon Him.
to many, the pain of 9/11 is still fresh. a woman on the news this morning sobbed as she told of the high-school sweetheart she was engaged to being killed in the attack.
I myself, cried as I watched, read, and looked up information on 9/11.
last night, a friend of mine and I were talking about where we were when the attack happened. he said that he had been sitting in his family room watching the news on tv. he saw the second plane hit.
I was at school. only seven years old at the time, I remember that the teachers were rather frantic, but trying to remain calm. whispers of two towers in New York getting attacked reached my ears, but I didn’t understand what that meant. I remember my best friend’s mom made her come home from school early. and I remember the strained look on my mom’s face as she picked me up from school, brought me home, and put me in front of the television. I saw the footage of the towers falling, but I didn’t comprehend exactly how horrible such an event was.
it wasn’t until several years later, as I watched reruns of the towers falling, that the magnitude of the attack struck me. I spent the rest of the night sobbing. Sobbing for all the brave men and women who had died. Even sobbing for all the cowards who had died.
where were you when our land was attacked? do you remember?
I think it is good for us as Americans to remember September 11th. we need to be on our knees praying for this nation that we love. we need to turn to God not only in the hardest of times, but in the best of times. we need to thank Him for the heroes like Todd Beamer and pray for those who are still hurting.
tomorrow, I plan on dedicating some of my day to praying for our nation. for this land that I love. for our president. for our people. for our future.
and I pray that our nation will remember to honor God and turn to Him at all times.
God bless America!