Friday, September 11, 2009


I have seen many comments, posts, statuses, etc. today about this day eight years ago.

Most of them have been prayers, or "Do you remember where you were"-type things.

It made me think: I can hardly believe that it has been that long. But I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, 8 years is really quite short. And I can't quite wrap my mind around that yet.

I was in my sophmore year of college. I had gotten up that morning, to get ready for work. My roommate got up, turned on the news, watched it for approximately 2 minutes, then headed for the shower. As soon as I woke up enough to drag myself out of bed, I went to change the channel (I don't particularly enjoy the news, especially early in the morning). It had to be just before 8:00 am (cst), as I had to be at work at 8:30 to open. I flipped to channel 9 (wgn - the channel I can bear news from in the morning while I wait to see the weather for the day) and it took me only a split-second to realize that 5 (nbc), 7 (abc) & 9 (wgn) were all showing the same picture.

That never happens. 5 & 7, sure, but not 9 too...

I flipped back to 7 (abc - I trust their news more when I really want to pay attention) and watched the first tower smoking, listening to the newscasters, etc., discussing what may have happened, what may be going on. I'd been watching for about 5 minutes. I was not moving from the spot standing in front of our tiny tv. As I listened/watched, another plane flew into the shot, and a fire-ball exploded out the other side. The man speaking stopped mid-sentence and said without taking a breath "Oh my god! What is going on?!?!?"

My heart dropped. "This is crazy," I thought. "What is going on?"

About that time, my roommate came back into the room from her shower.
"Are you watching the news?!?!"
"Why? What's going on?"
"Oh. (pause) Wow. What happened?"
"I don't know. I was watching and they were trying to figure it out, and this other plane flew into the shot and hit the second tower about a minute ago."
... silence ...
"Shoot. We have to go to work, like now."

Once we arrived at work, we spent the morning sending eachother back (or having people sent up) to give us updates to the news they were listening to on the radio. That's how I found out about the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, as well as the one in the field.

Most of the day was spent in shock for all of us. This stuff just doesn't happen here. We're too safe, too comfortable.

I remember that at work we listened to Michael W. Smith's worship album all day.
I remember that I prayed for our country and our president, our the firefighters, the military, and those who were wondering and beginning to grieve.
I remember chapel being open all day with a constant service - prayer, worship, conversation.
I remember that our choir director spent time with us in prayer and we sang a few worship songs, but we did not rehearse because he didn't want us to forever correlate those songs we were working on with that day, that event.
I remember a professor in the evening who was so stuck on the rules that he did not dismiss us in time to hear the president's speech.
I remember wishing I understood more, and being frustrated at people for criticizing the nation's leaders so quickly, before all the details were even figured out.
I remember the fear that San Francisco, Denver, or Chicago would be next.
I remember the country on red alert for weeks, months afterward.

6 months later, I was in New York City with my choir on a tour. A few of us went to Ground Zero to see what was being done. There were walls of memoriums, pictures, candles, crosses, prayers. They were blanketing the blocks surrounding the site. One of the most moving experiences. I remember thinking, "Oh my word. This is where it happened. This is where that was that I was watching on my tv in my room."

It made me realize that many people (more than I had ever admitted to myself) turn to "religion" only when they "need" it. But they don't realize that they always need it. It was crazy to see/hear that many people, including newscasters and politicians - who have to be so careful - praying and talking about God and heaven constantly on tv, in newspapers, on the radio. It made me realize how lucky I was to know God personally before that event, and to know that even if something happened to me or my loved ones, I knew the end result of my life. I knew that my purpose was whatever He deemed it to be.

Whenever this day comes along (a week after my birthday), I always am reminded of the tragedy, and the unbelief I was feeling that day. I pray for those who are still grieving, for those who lost loved ones, for those who are still unable to move forward.

And I thank God that still, despite it all, He has been faithful.

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