Several times over the past day, I’ve been asked or heard others asked if they remember where they were or what they were doing on September 11, 2001 when they heard that the United States had just been attacked. For my grandparent’s generation, that question was where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked. For my parent’s generation, it was where were you when Kennedy was shot? And I guess technically, the question for my generation – from when we were children – would be “What were you doing when the Space Shuttle Challenger and school teacher Christie McCauliff exploded?” (I was in school, watching on television like most schools across the US).
Elijah is the only one who really remembers seeing the towers fall. Kait wasn’t quite two yet and we had just found out we were expecting Noah. And two days before, we had just resigned our position in our church and were making plans to move. I had been up the entire night before – nasty morning sickness. I was sore from packing. And I was still in bed on September 11th. Chip had decided to let me sleep in and had gotten up with the kids.
I remember – very vividly – him *thundering* up the stairs. I thought something was wrong with one of the kids. I had already sat up when he burst into the room and the words he said still ring in my ears. “A plane just flew into the World Trade Center. I think our country was just attacked.” And like that he was gone. Back down the stairs. I dressed as my head swirled with questions. “How does a plane fly into a building? Was it an accident?”
I got downstairs just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower. And the start realization that this was not an accident became clear. We watched in silent horror as the first tower collapsed. And then the tears started. I remember saying over and over again, “There were still PEOPLE in there!” And I prayed with the rest of America that somehow the second tower would stay standing. And like most of America, we stayed there, in front of the television for the next several days as we watched the story unfold.
My heart was changed that day. More than ever before, there was a sense of urgency to live life, to love hard and to tell people about the difference Jesus has made in my life.