September 11, 2001; Ten Years Later

Tomorrow marks the Tenth Anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were and what we were doing on that morning just like my parent’s generation knew where they were and what they were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated.

I was at my dad’s house that morning. I had recently finished my internship in Beach ND with the Golden Valley News and the Billings County Pioneer. And after my internship, I had spent some time working/volunteering at my favorite place Camp of the Cross Ministries. And now the morning of September 11Th, I was watching “Little House on the Prairie” when it was interrupted with the news of the morning. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on our television set. Two planes fly straight into the World Trade Centers! Another plane crashing into the Pentagon. And then the heroes of Flight 93 who took control of their plane and flew it into a field in Shanks ville PA. If it weren’t for their heroic acts, who knows where that plane would have landed/crashed? For that day and the days following, we couldn’t help but grieve with the thousands who lost family members. Would today be the darkest day that I would know or would I see more darkness?

That next fall, I found myself starting seminary. I’m not sure that the events of September 11th called me into the ministry of word and service. But I have a feeling that in its own way, it did! At seminary, I remember many of my new friends telling me where they were that morning. Many of them were in class and then at 9:30 am CST they gathered for chapel. As the events of 9-11 unfolded, they stood in the Refectory with their eyes glued to the television sets. I remember my friend A telling us that the President of the seminary came in, turned off the televisions, and said, “Lets go to chapel. Chapel is the place we need to be right now!” So very true! And so they all gathered that morning,praying for the events unfolding in our world!

Now ten years later, man and woman are still in Afghanistan and other countries continuing to fight for our freedom. Ten years later, Bin Laden is dead! The day of his death I had a hard time grasping the joy so many were experiencing. I understood their joy but couldn’t bring myself to feel that same joy. Ten years later, the children of those killed on 9-11 are showing us what it means to share God’s grace with so many others!(Did any of you hear any of them speak on the Dateline special last night or read their interviews in the recent issue of People magazine?) Ten years later, we still remember; we still remember that horrific day. Ten years later, we are grateful for the many EMS workers, firefighters, and so many others who went into those buildings to bring survivors to safety. Ten years later, I find myself promising not to forget that dark day but also promising to share God’s grace and forgiveness when it is so hard to forgive!