While I've spent a lot of today thinking about that day, I realize that I actually thought about TODAY, 10 years ago. I did. Amidst all the horror and fear and confusion, I remember asking myself what our nation (and world) would be like in 10 years. Would we find those responsible quickly? Would we have achieved a sense of peace and security again? Would we even still exist, or would an even bigger attack come to destroy us all? I didn't know. But I wondered.
So the question most people ask is "where were you?" What they're really asking is "do you still remember every detail of that day more clearly than you do yesterday?" For me, the answer is yes. I had two toddlers at the time, and basically lived in a state of perpetual exhaustion. We lived in Harker Heights, TX. Mike worked at Fort Hood. I woke up that Tuesday morning and (as I did every day) turned on the TV immediately. My oldest is autistic and he had his TV routine. Bear in the Big Blue House was first up, then Elmo, then of course The Price is Right. It was one minute before 8 AM (central time), and when the TV came on, it was still ABC. As I reached over to change the channel for Noah, I heard the announcer saying something about a plane crash in NYC, and I flipped back to the channel just to see. While I stood there watching, thinking how terrible it seemed and hoping they would get everyone out quickly, the 2nd plane hit. That's not something I will ever forget seeing. That was the moment my entire world shifted on its axis, everything stopped making sense, and I knew something horrible had happened. I knew nothing would ever be the same again. I knew *I* would never be the same again.
I stood in the living room for the longest time. I couldn't even sit. I just stood there. I don't think I moved for an hour. The boys just ran circles around me, and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on the floor holding them and weeping. Trying to call Mike, and my friends. At some point, I made my way to the computer and found some sense of community in an email group I was on, and a messageboard I frequent. All the while trying to understand, trying to make sense. Trying to imagine what the world would be like tomorrow, next year, in 10 years. I didn't know there would be 2 wars to come out of this. I didn't know that my husband would be looking at his 4th deployment (though I did know he'd be sent SOMEWHERE and that his military life would change drastically). I didn't know if another attack would come, if we were safe. If we'd ever feel safe again.
I also didn't imagine that on the 10 year anniversary of that horrible day, that I would be teaching 18 children at church about it. That we would discuss the country's natural reactions immediately after that day (fear, anger, hate, mistrust, etc). And that we would be discussing God's word and what He wants US to focus on. I read them Psalm 46 (same one President Obama shared at the 9/11 tribute today), and we agreed that we need to LOVE one another, love our neighbors -ALL our neighbors. That we need to commit to HELPING each other, every day. We discussed the everyday citizens who were heroes that day. Of course the military, police, firefighters, medical workers, etc are all heroes we should always give thanks for, but there were people who were just going about their everyday lives, saw a need, and met that need. That's how we should be ALWAYS. September 11, 2001 put the UNITY in community. And we talked about the JOY we should walk in, every day. It's not always easy, but it's necessary.
Love, joy, unity, helpfulness - those are the ways we should let ourselves be changed by tragedy. Bitterness, fear, hate...that just lets the terrorists win. Let's not ever let them win, let's honor the memories of our dead by living our lives well, and always striving to make this world a better place.