I don’t necessarily do well with retrospectives. But this year, 9/11 is sitting on my heart. Here’s what I remember:
7:20 a.m. sitting on the couch nursing 3 month old Maddie, watching Good Morning America. They break in with a story of an explosion and fire in the World Trade Center. So then there are spotty reports of people seeing a plane crash into the building. A plane? Like what idiot in a Cessna ran into a building? And then they say it was a commercial jet. A what?! And while we’re watching one tower burn, I see a commercial plane crash into the other. Live. Oh my God. What did I just see? Then there are reports of a car bomb outside the State Dept. That one was false. But the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was a true story. And there was another plane missing and suspected hijacked. Eventually we found it had crashed into a field.
As a 35 yr old woman, I did what any adult would do. I called my Dad. “Dad? Are we at war?” “I don’t know, honey.” “Dad, people are jumping off the buildings.” I tried to call my husband at school. Left a message. I called my co-workers at Merrill Lynch. We had an office in the World Trade Center complex where a co-worker’s sister worked. Everyone had evacuated safely. We watched the news together over the phone. I was on the phone with another friend telling her one of the towers collapsed. “Its gone, Christie. One of the World Trade Center towers is gone.” “What do you mean gone?” “It just collapsed. I just watched it collapse. Wait a minute, oh my God. No, it was the second one. Christie, the World Trade Center isn’t there anymore. Its just not there.” I just watched 50,000 people die–I thought. No one knew how many had gotten out. But we knew who went in. Firemen and police. I did not turn off the tv for a week.
We live near an FAA station. There were barricades and police blocking off a 6 block perimeter in all directions. I stopped my daily walk with Maddie in a stroller because I didn’t want to miss any news. When I did go outside, it was eerie. No planes in the sky. It was a different world. I was afraid. For awhile.
I realize this is 2 days late. I wrote the above on 9/10 and saved it so I could finish. I was going to talk about how devastating that day was for me but I couldn’t. I was not devastated that day. I was fortunate. My family was intact. My heart was breaking for so many others and for our country. I was scared, but I was not devastated.
Darlene Zschech, an amazing worship leader with Hillsong Church in Sydney Australia, tells a story about the song “My Hope” from the live worship CD “Hope”. She was in the states during 9/11 and the words of the song poured out as an encouragement for the U.S. Here are the lyrics(©2002 Darlene Zschech/Hillsong Publishing):
You are righteous, You love justice
And those who honor You will see Your face
I will arise, and lift my eyes to see Your majesty
Your holiness, and all I am will bless You
My hope is in the name of the Lord
Where my help comes from, You’re my strength my song
My trust is in the name of the Lord, I will sing Your praise
You are faithful
“And His name will be the hope of all the world.” Matthew 12:21 NLT