September 11, 2006

In Memoriam...

(graphic by Rocks in My Dryer)

Shannon is asking us to share our memories of 9/11. I can't believe it's already been 5 years since that horrible, horrible day. I still have a devotion I wrote shortly afterwards, and have pasted it below. Reading it again today, fresh pain washed over me. I still can't comprehend the magnititude of what that day meant for our country. It's truly one of those "where were you when..." moments; the Kennedy assassination of our generation.

R & I had been planning a trip to NYC. On September 12, 2001, our airline tickets came in the mail (we were flying United). Our hotel was in the Financial District, and was shut down for a couple of days. We determined to keep our plans, and so we went on November 11th. Just 2 months after the attack.

I'll never forget stumbling upon Ground Zero and immediately crying. We were going to visit on the last day of our trip, because I wanted to mentally prepare myself ahead of time. But we got turned around coming out of the subway and were trying to find our hotel. I didn't expect to turn the street corner at that moment and see Ground Zero in all its horror. Two months had passed, but the stench still hung in the air. Ash and debris still fell as workers were trying to put the streets, water lines, and subway system back together.

But the most heartwrenching, devastating part of being there was seeing a parking deck full of cars that were covered in ash and rubble. Cars no one was coming to claim. Looking at the hundreds of vehicles there, the loss became real to me. The statistics had been a number that didn't compute in my math-impaired brain. But there were all these cars that weren't going home to a driveway or a garage...

Everywhere we went, people thanked us for coming. I guess my slight (ahem) Southern accent gave me away as a tourist. We went to a Broadway show, and the cast applauded the audience for our support. The Big Apple embraced us with a hospitality which, though not Southern, was warm and gracious...and more welcoming than almost anything I've ever experienced.

We stood in tremendously long lines at the airport, watched as airport personnel rifled through our bags, waited as R was called aside for one of the random passenger searches, and stared in awe at the National Guardsman with machine guns standing guard. And I was thankful, proud to be an American. Friends thought we were crazy to go, but I've never regretted that trip. It was truly a defining moment in my life.

So...those are my thoughts 5 years later. Here are my thoughts in October 2001 (and you know it had to be from God...because I don't think I'd ever read Habakkuk before in my life!)

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy...I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” --Habakkuk 3:2, 16

Where were you when you first heard about the madness that struck our country on September 11, 2001? I was sitting at my desk, caught up in my daily routine, when I heard of the first crash into the World Trade Center. At first, I brushed the news off as just a “freak accident”. Checking with CNN, I quickly learned about the second hit. My work forgotten, I became engrossed in following the latest developments. As the hour passed, I could hardly believe the mass chaos and devastation unfolding as I was watched. Indeed, as I sat glued to the internet and the television, realizing the magnitude of this tragedy, my “heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound.” I realized that life will never be the same again. Days passed. When I pondered this crime & the ramifications for our world, I was astounded by Satan’s sheer evilness. Obviously, I had underestimated the true nature of his spirit. Suddenly, “decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” at the horror which he had perpetrated.

Six weeks later, the Lord gave me this passage of Scripture which has not just spoken, but shouted, to my soul. I stand amazed at God’s timeliness! I struggled with putting my feelings into words, but He has given me the most accurate description of the emotions that have flooded my heart since this tragedy. He has also reminded me that He is still capable of performing deeds that will make us stand in awe; all we have to do is ask. Oh! how we need to be asking!

Finally, God has reminded me that He is in control. Justice is His, and His will shall be done. Hijackers do not have the last word. Biological warfare does not have the last word. Terror itself does not have the last word. And so, like Habakkuk, I will wait patiently...for I know that My God reigns!


Girl Raised in the South said...

We live relatively near NY and havent been there yet. A bit intimidating to us to venture into the Big Apple, but we so want to go. Specifically we want to see Ground Zero. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Great writing.

CJ said...

I wish I had was as certain of my faith during 9-11 as I am now. I have a completely different view of it now than I did then. Then I felt hopeless. Depressed. I thought the world was at a dead end. Now I know better. I have faith in Him. I can celebrate the lives lost instead of mourn for them and get angry at their passing. It's amazing the difference a few years can make.

Barb said...

I have a hard time believing five years have gone by, too. I still see images in my mind as though it happened last week. And I never ever forget that it could happen again, at any moment.

Lori said...

Everyone remembers exactly what they were doing on that fateful day. We pray for all those families who in an instant had their life change drastically forever. Praying!

Michelle said...

I understand about going through with your dh took a job in NY just a week after the attacks. God is so good and through this horrific tragedy He has always been right there.

Thanks for your lovely words...I too, am so proud to be an American.