Do you remember where you were 12 years ago? What were you doing on September 11, 2001? I was working for a third party billing agency who dealt with a company who lost most of their employees that fateful day.
We listened on the radio as all of the reports started flooding in. One airplane, then a second hit the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. Many of us just sat in shock knowing that this could mean so many things. War? Death? Was this the end, was God taking us home?
The phones were pretty silent that day, not many people were calling in to check their accounts; we didn’t have much to do but wait to hear what was happening around the world.
Then over the radio we heard that President Bush was heading directly to Offutt Air Force Base which is located right outside of our town. Many saw the plane fly over and knew that there was more to this story. We were afraid that having the President in our state would open up possible attacks on Nebraska.
Then we heard that the buildings collapsed, smoke and debris was filling the city. Thousands were injured, dead or missing. What was happening? Such confusion and sadness filled our hearts and minds.
People at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania were also in shock and disbelief. Dear God, why would this happen?!
As we were released to our homes that day, I went to pick up my son Nicolas. At the time Nic was only 5 and in Kindergarten. When we arrived home, I told him that some very bad men had hurt a lot of people. We watched the news that night and Nic saw some of the images from that horrific day.
The entire country was in shock, many in New York and on the East Coast had no idea if their family members were alive. I sat in our home, holding my family close and thanking God for our safety.
During this time, Nic’s dad was in the military. Because of what was happening in the country, his dad was sent to a secret location. As he left, Nic asked, “Will dad’s plane fly into a building too?” What a precious and honest question from a little boy who didn’t understand.
While Nic was at school that week, he began to draw different pictures in his journal than his normal tigers and elephants. He began to draw buildings on fire. He did this for several days. We will never understand what was going on in his mind, but can only imagine his confusion.
As the days passed, we found out more details about those that were killed and those who survived. There were prayer vigils across the nation, even those who didn’t have the same beliefs came together in New York to pray.
I’ve watched many documentaries about September 11th. Just recently, I watched a show about the rescuers, fire fighters and police who responded that day. One man told a story of how he was on the elevator and a floor that he was passing by was on fire with jet fuel. There was a small space in the elevator where the fuel burned him. Another woman who was on a different elevator saw her life pass before her eyes as the elevator plummeted down to the ground. Both people left to find paramedics to help them; both survived because of the heroism that others displayed that day. I can only hope that if I were in the same situation, I would be there to protect and help others.
I do know one thing for certain. On September 11th, 2001, God was there. He was with that woman in the elevator and the man who was burned. He was there in the stairwell when the buildings collapsed and trapped people in the rubble. God was with others on the airplanes heading to the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.
Even when we think He has left or forsaken us, He holds our hand and reminds us that He was always there.
Over 3,000 people died that day. May God comfort their families, day after day, year after year until they are reunited with their loved ones again.
Please take a moment and watch this video in silence and with remembrance….we will never forget.