I Remember


I was 19 years old. I was a sophomore at Belmont University and living at home.

I remember waking up that morning to the phone ringing and ringing and ringing. I finally answered and it was my mom who was at a Bible Study at church. She said that someone had heard that the World Trade Center had been bombed and asked me to turn on the tv. She was leaving church and on her way home. I hung up, turned on the tv, and like so many Americans, stared at this image on the screen:

I remember thinking: What in the world? Wait, it wasn't a bomb? A plane? TWO planes? SOMEONE DID THIS ON PURPOSE?!

I remember talking to my aunt and saying that I hoped an American didn't do this to their own people. I remember her saying that if it wasn't an American then we were going to be at war.

I remember thinking about the last time I had seen the WTC in person (March 2001). Jeremy and I had taken a trip to NYC on our spring break and had driven by the WTC late one night. Dido's "Thank You" was playing in my car and I can vividly remember looking up at the towers and thinking how tall and beautiful they were. It's a memory forever etched in my mind.

I remember not being able to talk to my dad for what seemed like a very long time. He was in the Boston area and all cell phone service was completely jammed. He couldn't catch his flight, so he had to drive home.

I remember going to my Abnormal Psychology class that night in an absolute daze. I couldn't process everything that was happening.

I remember staring at the tv during any free time I had over the next few weeks. I couldn't stop watching and listening to the stories. People talking about what they saw. What they experienced. Who was missing.

I can honestly say that over the next few months, I begin to realize the evil that exists in this world. I lost part of my innocence.. specifically the part of me that never knew such evil existed or that there were people out there that really wanted to cause us harm.

The frailty and brevity of life became all too clear... in a way I had never known it before. I was all of a sudden aware that I could actually die. I know it sounds weird that at 19 years old I had never grasped this concept, but teenagers are notorious for thinking they are invincible. My invincibility came to a screeching halt on 9/11/01.

Fast forward 3 years....

Jeremy and I moved to Washington DC. We chose apartments in Arlington, VA ... a mere mile from the Pentagon. I still wasn't "over" the events of September 11th and they all came rushing back to me when we moved there. I remember standing on the roof of one of the apartment buildings looking over the Pentagon and asking the leasing agent which side was hit on 9/11. She said looked at me like I had two heads and said she didn't know.

I drove past the site of the Pentagon crash every day ... multiple times a day. Though the building was repaired, images like this kept coming to my mind:
Shortly after we moved to Arlington, I began having nightmares.
I would dream I was on one of the planes crashing...
or I was watching the planes crashing...
or someone I knew was on the planes crashing...
they happened over and over and over. Eventually, the dreams began to subside and happened less frequently. That is, until I read something about 9/11 or watch something on tv about it. (Seriously, even to this day... if I watch a tv special on September 11th, I do so with the expectation that I will have a dream about a plane crash. Jeremy can verify this!)

In January 2005, Jeremy and I went back to NYC. He proposed to me on this trip and the next day we ventured to Ground Zero. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

We found this little church near Ground Zero (I can't remember the name now), but it was a place of refuge for the policemen/firefighters helping during the weeks after 9/11. It is filled with pictures and artifacts from those days... and is an absolute must-see if you ever go to New York.

This cross emerged from the rubble of Ground Zero.
Jesus was there.
In their darkest hour, He was there.

So that is my September 11th story. {Well, the short version anyways...} I think it is important that we hang on to these memories and share them- so we don't lose sight of what's important. Our nation will pay the price if we choose to forget.

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
Deuteronomy 4:9

No comments:

Post a Comment