Remembering September 11, 2001
How long is 19 years? It is 228 months. It is 990.7 weeks. It is 6,935 days. It is 166,440 hours. For a child just starting school, 19 years seems so long – forever! For a student getting ready to start college, 19 years is a lifetime. For a young adult, 19 years signifies change, from the past and for the future. For middle-aged person, 19 years reminds them of simpler times, and a wonder at what is to come. For a grandparent, 19 years seems so short a time, a blink of an eye.
To an American, 19 years mean Never Forget. For 19 years ago, the nation lived up to its name – The United States of America. Nineteen years ago, we promised that we would Never Forget. We promised that we would stand together. We promised that it was a turning point for this nation. We promised we would not break those promises.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the United States of America was attacked by a foreign land. Their goal was to destroy this great nation, to strike fear into the heart of every American. It was the first major attack on the United States since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, 60 years earlier. The loss of life in both events was comparable – 2,300 in Hawaii and 2,966 in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, where the fight back was already beginning. The United States of America rose up, united, and fought back; remembering those who died in that attack.
Nineteen years later, on Wednesday, September 11, 2020, we remember that attack. We celebrate, we mourn, we grieve. Remembering September 11, 2001. But what do we remember?
Nineteen years later, we are no longer united. It has been nearly four years since the most divisive and ugliest presidential election in recent history, with another fast approaching. Since the election, marches, protests, and rallies have occurred throughout America, some ending in violent conflict between opposing groups. Friends and families have divided and are no longer on speaking terms due to differing political and religious beliefs. We are no longer willing to listen to opposing views, to talk, discuss differences, and work together for the best outcome for all. I’m right, and your wrong and need to be silenced has become the status quo. And as we approach the next presidential election, not much seems to have changed.
Nineteen years later, we are no longer united. But hope is not lost! We, as a nation, still come together, every now and then, and show that we can be united – the United States of America. A pandemic strikes and neighbors step up to deliver groceries to the most vulnerable and to share needed supplies. Strangers offer their help to strangers. A hurricane demolishes a city, burying it underwater. Volunteers flock to the city, donating time, energy, and resources helping those who need it, however they can. If we look closer, we can see this support shines through without thought, even at a local level. Look for the people spreading unity, doing what they can, just as we did 19 years ago! This nation can and does still unite! And we need to again!
When remembering September 11, 2001, we are often somber, remembering those who were lost that day, and those who lost their lives since, because of what happened that day. But in that devastation, we also saw the best of people! We do not know what the future may hold. We do not know what will happen 19 years from now. If we want a better United States of America, one that honors its name, then we have to start changing now!
Change has to begin somewhere, sometime, with someone! Why not you? And now! Wherever you are! Be the best version of you that you can be! “Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32b-33, ESV)
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:14-15, ESV) Begin where all Christians should begin addressing their problems – the Lord. Pray, as Jesus did at Gethsemane. Seek His guidance for your next move.
So put down your weapons of attack. Take off the hoods and disguises. It is time to sit down and listen. It is time to sit down and talk. It is time to come together! Nineteen years is a lifetime away. Nineteen years is just around the corner. What will your legacy be in 19 years?
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