Last week Sunday marked the ten year anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Our world has changed so much since then. We’ve come a long way though I’m not convinced all the changes are good ones. It’s odd to think about life ten years ago. While I’m aware that ten years ago I was 20 years old, I got my first laptop, my chihuahua, I was working full time and going to college part time so much of life back then is fuzzy (as life ten years prior usually is). September 11th is still clear.
I woke up that beautiful September morning and took Dane, my new chihuahua puppy outside to “go potty.” My mom was out in our yard on the phone. I could tell by the look on her face that something was terribly wrong. Having two grandparents in their eighties my panic centered on them. I remember asking her what was wrong expecting to hear someone was being rushed to the hospital or perhaps worse… Her answer was something I was definitely not prepared for. “Terrorists attacks.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. “They hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” My first thoughts were “it can’t be. This sounds like a movie, this isn’t real life,” but it was real life. After hearing the news from my Uncle John, we went inside and turned on the television. It was on every channel. The images of the Towers burning. The scenes of the planes crashing into the buildings. The horror.
I remember wondering if I should even go into work that day but I knew that despite what was happening I would be expected to be at work. My youngest sisters’ school was put on lock-down. They were kept blissfully unaware until they got home from school that day.
At work there was this eerie calm. Everyone was so nice to each other as we went through the motions in a state of disbelief. We had the TVs on in the dining room, we’d take turns monitoring the news. Our customers kept us informed as well. I remember we’d ask questions of the customers coming through the drive thru and they would ask us too. There were a lot of “God bless you’s” and talk about prayer. People were frightened, more compassionate, more patient.
The city of Detroit basically shut down. They stopped the bus runs earlier than usual. They closed the Ren-Cen, the big three, the bridge to Canada. Our franchise owner called the stores and told us to put “Pray for America” or something to that effect on our marquees out front of the restaurants. I did it myself, watching the cars going past on the busy road, looking at the beautiful day and wondering if our world would ever be the same. I felt like all our hopes and dreams were probably shattered, I knew we’d be going to war. It was now a different world.
I went home that night and my family all gathered around watching the TV, talking about the different things we heard, what we thought would happen, our hopes, our fears, our sorrow. Finally we turned it off because we couldn’t take it any more. We didn’t want to see the plane hit the building again, or the people running covered in debris.
I prayed so hard that night, prayed that survivors would be found, prayed for the people who didn’t know if their loved ones were dead or alive, prayed for the parents who had lost their children and for the children who lost their parents. I prayed for our country and for my family. I prayed for safety and peace. I prayed that our President and government would not make some knee jerk reaction and intensify the violence. I even prayed for our enemies that the Holy Spirit may work in their hearts and that they could have peace as well. I prayed. I think I even begged and pleaded with the Lord asking to please let us all get past this with no more lives being lost. I prayed for peace.
Ten years later we still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Osama Bin Laden is now dead which is a small victory in all of this I suppose. But lives are still being lost. The real tragedy is that we have returned to “normal” life, being cruel and lacking in compassion (myself included). I think the real question, ten years later, are we really honoring those who have died by the way we live?