Labor Day weekend my cousins and I enjoyed ourselves racing through the rows of corn, laughing and carrying on as we chased one another in a game of tag. Unknown to us at the time, we had all run through a patch of poison ivy.
A few days later my brother and I found ourselves at an early morning doctor appointment to look at the patches of irritated, itchy skin that ran up and down our legs.
Our parents (my dad had off work that day) were driving us back to school. I will never forget just before 9am we were sitting at a red light. My brother, 11 years old at the time, reached back and started tugging at me. A typical 15 year old girl, I had my headphones in trying to block out the rest of the world; especially annoying little brothers. At my brother's persistence, I removed my headphones and said, "What?!," making sure to inflict a tone of annoyance in that one word.
My dad reached over and turned up the radio. There was a silent tension of suspense building in the car as we listened to the announcers shocked voice explaining that a plane was heading straight for a building in New York. A few moments later the plane struck one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City.
The first thought that ran through my mind....."Are you kidding me? What pilot would be dumb enough not to see a building right in front of them." I thought surely something must have malfunctioned in the plane itself to have caused such a horrible crash.
My dad knew better and a few minutes later his suspicions were confirmed as a second plane struck the second tower. "Terrorists." I remember him speaking that word so certainly that it sent a chill down my back as the reality of what just happened struck all of us. Our nation was under attack.
My parents discussed whether to take us to school or not. They concluded in our small town we would be safe and decided to allow us to go.
Ironically, when I went into the school I had History class. I rushed into the classroom and told my teacher to turn on his television and explained what I heard on the radio. I could tell from the look on his face he was skeptical of my story, but his curiosity allowed him to turn on the TV. After only a few moments of watching the news, they provided a new visual to all of what I heard on the radio. The smoking towers hovered over downtown New York City. My teacher began calling the rest of the faculty telling them to turn on their televisions as well.
The day progressed and every classroom had their television on keeping updated on the situation. The smoking twin towers could be seen on every television. I reached my fourth period, Algebra class. As my teacher was walking around to help us with the problems we were trying to solve, we heard gasps and screams coming from the television. Everyone instantly looked up and those gasps were soon echoed by those in the classroom. The first tower was crashing down right in front of our eyes. The news reporter began to run, still talking into the microphone. The camera person ran as well, still filming as a cloud of dust rushed behind them and engulfed the streets as they hurried into a building for cover....
After seeing this and hearing of the two additional crashes at the Pentagon and Flight 91's crash in Pennsylvania, (where we were) many students called their parents in a frantic cry wishing to go home. The principal made an announcement for teachers to turn the televisions off.
Going home that day I remember reflecting that life was too short not to tell the people we love how much we care about them. A former boyfriend, my first "love" was one of the first people I thought of and who I wanted to talk with. Besides that, I only remember feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and an appetite for vengeance for our nation.
I loved how our nation pulled together and united as one unit mourning, remembering, and healing from this tragedy. While I don't ever wish this type of horrible event to take place again, I do pray for the unity we experienced then to come forth once again in our country.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we remember these horrible events that took place in our country 11 years ago, allow us to also reflect on the strength, hope, and healing You provide us when we are faced with impossible challenges in this life. I ask You help us remember those who are still hurting from these events. That Your hand would be upon all of those who were effected by this tragic event; especially those who lost a loved one. I ask that You would pour out Your peace upon them and give them hope in You. Allow the same unity our nation experienced then, to not be forgotten now as we approach this upcoming election. Speak to our hearts, Lord, for the direction You want our nation to go.
In Jesus Name,