It’s crazy how fast time flies. It’s also crazy how drastically things can change as time flies.
Today marks the 14th anniversary of September 11. Every year on this day I remember everything I saw, did, thought, asked, wondered that day. I was only seven years old. It was a Tuesday which meant we had to be up early to go to work with my mom. My siblings were already up and downstairs eating breakfast. It was sunny and cloudless in Southern California just like in New York City. I remember walking down the steps slowly, only focusing on making myself a bowl of cereal when I noticed the TV was on, looking at it just in time to see the second tower explode from the impact of United flight 175.
As such a young child, I honestly had no idea what was going on. In my idealistic and naive mind, nobody ever did anything bad. Certainly no one would ever take over a plane to crash it into a tall building. One of the questions I remember asking my mom over and over again that entire day was, “Why would they let a terrorist fly the plane?” A violent hijacking wasn’t registering on my radar. It didn’t make sense in my mind that something would happen like this.
All these years later I remember exactly what I felt not only on that day but also on every day immediately following the terrorist attacks. Every single year on September 11, I watch the same documentaries and feel the same things, I pray the same prayers and notice a few new things.
Although the attacks happened when I was so young, they helped shape me into the woman I am today. It was the first time I had ever heard of Islam and it was the first time I remembered wishing everyone in the world knew about Jesus Christ. It was the first time I felt angry and sad over something that didn’t directly happen to me or my family. It was the first real tragedy I witnessed. It left a large impression on my heart to try to make the world a little different.
September 11 impacted so many people on different levels. Some experienced a painful and sudden loss of a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend. Some fell to their knees and prayed for the first time. But all took comfort that God was there and wasn’t leaving.
But something else also happened on September 11, 2012. When the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked two American ambassadors to Libya as well as two Special Forces soldiers were killed trying to defend American soil. Their loved ones suffer today as the rest of us mourn another anniversary. Don’t forget about those four men.
When this anniversary rolls around every year, my prayer is the same:
Lord, comfort those who lost a loved one. It’s been 14 years and maybe the time has dimmed the pain, but the memories can still come up, the pain can still come back. Comfort and protect the ones who still haven’t completely healed–and those who might not ever completely heal. Wrap Your loving arms around the lost, guide and direct those who have a purpose because of this tragedy and watch over the people who work to prevent another attack from happening. Lord, through this attack and the anniversaries that will keep coming every year, help people to learn what happened and remember the events of this day. Jesus, please never be far from us. Remind us of Your never ending love all the day long. In Your name, Amen.