Today is the day in which I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when terrorists struck the US with horrible and shocking force. It is now ten years later and for the first time, I have gone back and re-read my journal entry from that terrible day. I still cry.
Much of the entry was written as I was experiencing the emotions of the day but other parts were filled in later as details emerged. It is disjointed, raw and numb. Here it is in its entirety.
“It was just another ordinary day. I got the kids up and ready for school. My son is in 5th grade and my daughter is attending Cross Trainers Christian Academy Preschool. It happened at 7:46am. I was still on the interstate taking my daughter in when the newsflash came over the radio. I first thought it was an accident but still didn’t comprehend the scope of it. A plane flew into one of the towers of the Word Trade Center! What a tragedy.
When I arrived at the office they told me that another plane flew into the other tower and that all this was no accident. By now I was under the impression that the first was no accident by the news reports and by then the horror was starting to seep into my consciousness and I didn’t know what to do or how to act. I didn’t know if I was in danger and if I needed to go home. I felt adrift in a sea of world events. I wasn’t worried about Gary or the kids, just myself.
There is a tv on that we’ve been watching and it’s just horrible. I keep thinking about all those people in the towers and what they’re doing and how they’re escaping. And then it really got bad. The towers collapsed. Both of them. The New York skyline is forever altered. They’re saying that up to 50,000 people could’ve been killed. I’m shaking. Then I hear that the Pentagon was struck. Oh my God, our country is really under attack.
Then a ray of sunshine. A fourth flight that was hijacked was brought down in a field in Shanksville, Penn. It turns out when that one was hijacked many of the people on board called their loved ones who filled them in on what was going on elsewhere. So they banded together to wrestle control of the plane and brought it down themselves. There were no survivors but it’s thought that flight was intended for Washington D.C. so they sacrificed their lives for hundreds of others on the ground. Heroes. The lexicon of one, Todd Beamer, will live forever: “Let’s Roll.”
By this time the FAA closed the skies. They ordered all flights to land immediately wherever they were. All incoming overseas flights were routed to Canada. I read later that every pilot was notified about New York and Washington and they did what they could to make sure no one would invade their cockpits. They gathered steak knives from first class and full bottles of wine and barricaded themselves. On some flights traveling pilots assisted and on others the flight attendants were kept in the dark.
Mom called. She might come down later today. She has a job interview in a little while so it’ll be after that. She’s pretty shaken. I also talked to Dad. Well not really. It’s hard to talk with all the emotions running through me. He was supposed to fly today but this morning he had a feeling that he needed to stay home so he didn’t go. Thank God. He wouldn’t have been on one of the flights but needless to say…
I just can’t work today.
After coming home at the end of the day I was glued to the tube. I finally saw the footage of what really happened and it’s just overwhelming. I watched the second plane slam into the south tower and it created a fireball. I kept thinking about all those people… I watched as the towers collapsed amidst dust and debris. Afterward it looked like a war zone. Everyone was covered in white dust or ash or whatever it was and the looks on their faces was one of being dazed.
How am I supposed to respond to this shocking act of terror? I consider myself a Christian but what do we do to ensure the people responsible face the consequences so they won’t do this to anyone else? Is a response of “love your neighbor” and “forgive seventy times seven” right? As I recall at one point in time even Jesus became angry at the moneylenders in the temple and chased them out. So what do we do? I do not want to see our country or any another one ever have to go through this type of act of terror. I will be praying for the world leaders that they make the right decisions in the days ahead. I don’t know what the right decision is but God does and I think if enough people are praying that prayer it will happen. Maybe that’s a childish view but it’s all I can do right now.”