Every September 11th, I sit in front of my tv and listen to countless names being read and bells being rung. Every year, I think about to that day in 2001, as a fifteen-year-old tried to peel her brother from the tv in his room and convince him to start his school work. He wanted to watch Regis and Kelly while Mom was in the shower–a common event, despite the fact that our homeschooling was supposed to start promptly by nine. Instead of Regis’s glaring tie, though, there was news coverage on a skyscraper on fire.
I had never heard of the World Trade Center before that day. But there was a fire there, so I went to tell Mom. By then, she was out of the shower and dressed, drying her hair carefully. She turned on the tv in her room, where they were reporting that a plane had hit the building. Sometime between me leaving her room and turning on the tv in the living room, 9:03 struck and the second plane dove into the other tower.
We were riveted to the tv all day. As planes turned up missing, Dad’s employer evacuated their facilities. My aunt, who worked in a Pittsburgh high-rise, was evacuated. My Pennsylvanian grandmother stayed on the phone with my mom. I silently prayed that God would help the authorities find those planes before anything bad happened.
It wasn’t long after that when Flight 93 went down in Shanksville. Eight months later, I would stand on that silent hillside beside a chain link fence covered in tokens and flags and look at the fenced mound where the plane had been. It was perhaps the most moving moment of my life.
I watched the towers collapse. I was the first in our house to notice something was wrong–that something was crumbling, that something looked too shaky.
I saw the sky still despite the fact that we lived not far from a large airport.
I watched President Bush read the 23rd Psalm that night after my brother and I relieved some of the tension by laughing at the lag between the cable channels.
Today, I sit and listen to the names being read and the bells being rung once more. I remember those who lost their lives, those who chose to go down fighting, and those who never made it to work or onto the plane that day. I remember that God was there despite what happened that day, and that He listened to a young girl praying for heroes on a fated plane.
May we always have the courage to look evil in the eye and say, “Let’s roll.”