On the eve of what was the worst attack on our nation’s homeland in recent history, I lay my head down for what I pray is a restful night at the firehouse. Like it was for so many Americans that day in 2001, my day was filled with more emotion than one should have to face in such a few short hours. I say short, because the elapsed time, when reflecting back on that day with the gift of hindsight, flew by relatively quickly. On that day, though…time stood still. Minutes seemed like hours and hours like days.
I sat glued to the television while at work for 10 hours straight, and came home still unable to turn it off. All day long, all I wanted to do was hold my family. To hold your mom and sister tight and offer a sense of protection and safety that deep in the pit of my soul I knew I could no longer provide. That day, we all faced the reality that our lives are so much more beyond our control than we ever knew. The safety net was gone, the walls lowered, and our vulnerability was undeniable. It was a day that changed so many aspects of our lives.
It was a day that helped me realize I can’t do this life alone. It brought me to my knees seeking answers. Seeking justice. Seeking peace and comfort. Seeking truth. I found the Truth that day. I found that I am a sinner and worthy of death. I found that I am reliant on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my very existence. I found that He took death in my place so that I might be spared. I found the cross. And it’s on that cross that I surrender my all to the One who took the fall.
Life has never been what it was before that day. And for that, my dear children, I am sorry. You will never know a world like I knew growing up. You will never experience the same freedom I had as a child. Your childhood will always be in a post 9-11 world where trust is low and tensions are high.
As our lives unfold, we move closer and closer to the day of Christ’s second coming. The time is now for believers to share the Truth. We will undoubtedly face many trials, adversities, pain and hardships before that day arrives, and it’s my prayer that as you face those moments you look beyond the pain and suffering. Beyond the evil and malice. Beyond the bad. To find the good that lies interwoven in those events. When evil people do unthinkable evil, there are others who rise to help. To serve. To render aid, to support and to save. There are heroes in your everyday life. Some where a badge or a uniform. Some wear only the blood of their country on their hearts as they bleed with pride in the citizenship of our nation.
It’s my prayer that as you grow, those of us who lived through those days can help you to know. To remember. To never forget. Many people in our nation seem to have forgotten. And that, my child, brings a sadness to the very essence of my core. Some have forgotten what “Never Forget” meant. They’ve taken the images of that day down and tried to erase them from our collective memories. They’ve removed them from our mainstream media in hopes that they won’t offend anyone. And even now as I write this, our leaders are discussing the possibility of going to war in Syria to support the heinous people who attacked us twelve short years ago tomorrow! What we all need to remember is that Never Forget means NEVER FORGET.
To the families of those who were killed that day, I offer my prayers. Prayers that the God of love and grace will continually keep you. That His arms will wrap around you, not just today on the anniversary of your loss, but everyday. That you might find a peace and comforting rest in His arms like none other. I pray that your grief, though always present, is comforted slightly by the knowledge that there are more of us who know what Never Forget means than those that don’t. And I pray for safety and blessing on those still fighting in defense of our freedom…at home and abroad…on the front lines and behind the scenes…career and volunteer. You all do your part in providing for our safety and freedom, and the very fabric of our lives is interwoven by your sacrifice.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13