I will never forget that day.
It started off as such a beautiful morning. I woke up early and went to the living room to quietly listen to the news as I prepared for work. I had just finished my morning devotion and, as usual, turned on the television to catch some of the morning news.
I stood watching what appeared to be a horrible accident where the newscaster said a “small plane” had crashed into a building in New York. I stood very still and began praying for the people inside of that burning building, praying for rescue, for safety, for mercy…
Then, as I stood there watching, I witnessed a large airliner fly directly into the adjacent building. My heart froze. My mind tried to reject what I was witnessing, and then the debris exploded on the opposite side of the building and I instinctively cried out to God and yelled for my wife to come see what was happening!
We both stood there in front of the television and literally could not move. We cried, we prayed, we gasped and knelt down onto our knees asking God to please give the trapped people His mercy.
I have been asked many times about how I felt when I witnessed this horrible act of evil.
I felt hurt, alone, angry, sad, shocked, inadequate, helpless… I also felt anger, frustration, and a need for immediate revenge against whoever could have brought about such an act of violence.
And then I saw the first video of the people jumping from the burning building. I listened as a reporter said the loud “thumping noises” were bodies hitting the ground as people chose to leap to their death instead of remain in the burning structures. I remember crying out; “Oh my God! Please God! Help!”
Then the first building crumbled. People running. Dust covering everything like a wave. Then the second building crumbled…
Shocked, I pulled away and left for work. Stunned, I spoke with co-workers about the attack. We asked each other “How do you feel?”
Once again I have been asked this very poignant question; how do you feel?
I am very proud of how our country responded. I am very proud of how our President conducted himself. I am very proud of the men and women of our military forces who responded with courage and commitment. I am very proud of our national and local law enforcement people who worked to find out who was involved in this act of terrorism.
As I reflect on this day, fifteen years ago, I am filled with love for our country. I now work with prisoners, and I have the blessing of working with veterans. Both of these groups have been affected by 9/11. Veterans and prisoners both have deep rooted connections to family and country. Whenever I open up the conversation of 9/11, I witness faces change, I hear voices tremble, and listen to men and women as they tell me our government has not done enough to ‘destroy terror’.
But, as a Christian, and as an American, I know, without a doubt, that God is in control, His saving grace and strength is available for anyone who will trust in Him, and in the end, God wins the battle we are watching.
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