9/11 is a day I cannot forget, in part because it is my wedding anniversary.
For our second anniversary, we decided to take a trip to visit some family members. On Sept. 11, 2001, we were staying with cousins who helped to pastor a church in Hannibal, MO. We had just finished eating a casual breakfast when we got a call from Drew who had left to work at the church earlier that morning. He told us to, “Turn on the television.” When Lori, his wife asked him, “What channel?” He simply replied, “Any channel.”
We turned on the TV just in time to watch live footage of the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. I looked over at my husband who crumpled into a heap on the floor, just overcome with sadness.
I was more in shock as I viewed the scene; it seemed to me as if I was watching a horror movie and found it hard to believe we were watching an actual terrorist attack as it happened on American soil.
We spent the day glued to the television set--as I’m sure many did that day. I am not sure what we hoped to accomplish by watching the horrible scenes replay over and over again…watching the towers burn then fall…watching people running for their lives away from Ground Zero...people falling from above. I think if nothing else it helped us feel the pain better of those in New York City and from around the nation as we mourned together for America.
As the day passed on, we received word from Drew that there was going to be a prayer service in the town square. All the church leaders of Hannibal would be gathering there with their members to pray for our nation.
Participating in this prayer service was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. As I locked hands with a complete stranger, I was reminded that in this square we put aside our denominations, our race, our gender—that day we were simply Americans and people who were hurting deeply for our country.
Now, 11 years later, I can still remember vividly the pain I felt on that day in 2001. Mixed with this pain however is hope. Why? Because even though I can remember the images of the most horrible, and most deadly attack in our history, I can also remember the kind of people we were in that town square. We were people who were not divided by their differences but united as though we were one.
I also remember the kind of people we were on 9/12, people who did not have to be reminded of what patriotism was but flew flags proudly. We flew flags not just because it was a national holiday but because we felt a sense of pride in being called Americans.
While it might seem hard at times (especially during election season) to put our differences aside, I believe that we can. Please take a few minutes today to recall what you felt that September morning and say a prayer for our country. God bless you and God bless America!