10 September 2011
Where were you 10 years ago?
History buffs and those with good memory will tell you their thinking, their location, their conversations. Others will have a general idea. If you told the story to others at the time, you will likely have a better memory. If you blogged or journaled about your thoughts then, it's even more sure that you recall.
I took this photo of the Twin Towers in about 1983, off the ferry coming back from the Statue of Liberty. And when I think about the loss of those two buildings, and the resultant aftershocks, I still sit with sadness.
The night of 9/11/01 my wife and I were at home in Sydney. We watched the episode of the tv show "West Wing." Wikipedia reports about "18th and Potomac": In a brief conversation with Mrs. Landingham, directly before she goes to collect her new car, the President says he'd like to have a word with her on her return. Later in the show we find out that she was killed in a car crash that occurred at 18th and Potomac - adjacent the main entrance to the Congressional Cemetery. The title of the episode references this pivotal event. The President is thus never able to tell her this news.
It ended about 1040 pm.
Moments later, at 10:46 pm (our time, 8:46 am in NYC), five hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center's North Tower (1 WTC) and at 9:03 a.m. another five hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower (2 WTC).
The television in Sydney showed the replay, again and again.
The video, the confusion.
We sat silently.
Immediately I sent an email to our then New York City leader Mitch Forman in case he didn't know. He lived at our operations centre in Manhattan on 31st Street. Watching the morning news was not part of his usual routine at The Center. I rang. Told them to watch the news...quickly. And suggested they might do some particular things.
I went back to my lounge room with my wife and daughter. She was 11. We sat silently. News was splashing and forthcoming. Disarray and disquiet. The scenes were anything but comfortable.
At about midnight a friend from the US rang. She also lived in Sydney and had been watching the television. We commiserated. We couldn't believe what we were watching. Shock. Horror. Dismay. We wondered what was next. Who knew there would be more with the Pentagon and the United airlines flight that landed into the fields of Pennsylvania?
1) America is resilient and no matter what terrorists or the axis of evil or its own corrupt corporate executives throw at it, America seems to buoy itself and survive. And thrive! And fly the Stars and Stripes.
2) Patriotism is rife and only increased after 9/11. The number of American flags proliferated throughout 2001 and ever since. Not since the late 1960s when "America: Love it or Leave it" bumper stickers abounded had we seen so many patriotic attestations. Songs of national heritage like "God bless America" have now become standard fare at the 7th Inning stretch in baseball games, before the singing of "Take me out to the ballgame." Americans love their country. They are not embarrassed about proclaiming that.
3) Evil knows no earthly bounds. And ruthless observation is required to check evil at every checkpoint. That's why the US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars not only on US soil, but wherever planes are exiting to enter the USA. The upgrades for security, the combining of 22 other government agencies into the Homeland Security department, all of it... designed to watch, and to catch evil have been somewhat successful.
4) Only God rules the worlds. People might strive for their versions of justice or recompense or retaliation, but at the end of the day, all man's efforts fail. The Bible makes it clear that the Lord has compassion for the lowly, the downtrodden, the afflicted. And He ever works to make His way known. Sadly governments of men and plots of evil men might thwart His kingdom for a time, but in the end He has His way.
America, we from Down Under wish you success in the continued rebuilding of faith and confidence after the 9/11 attacks. It's not easy.
Place your confidence in the Almighty.
That faith will not disappoint.
That will succeed, and although it might appear to delay or be delayed, wait for it.
His going forth is certain as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rains watering the earth.