I sat on the edge of the bed last night, glued to the horrific scenes displayed on the television, my boys surrounding me in abnormal silence as my husband turned up the volume. I sat there stunned, hand to my gaping mouth, tears streaming down my cheeks, and the sickening feeling in my gut that kept pushing its way up. The images I was looking at were the same images from ten years ago; September 11, 2001. "Where was I when the world stopped turning that September day?" As this Alan Jackson tune runs through my mind, I sit and try to comprehend, yet again, just what I am seeing.
I remember I woke up in a cranky mood. My young boys playing wildly at my feet. I woke in a horrible mood because Willie and I had a argument the night before. I remember feeling tired and wishing I had a few moments away from my boys to think, or to indulge in some self-pity or something. The boys however wanted more attention than I had to give. They displayed their needs in such ways as jumping on my bed and leaping to the floor. I yelled at them to leave my room. I felt bad for this, but was in no mood. I remember as one of them left the room, the statue of Jesus perched on my shelf came crashing down. I bent over to pick it up, it was broken. I remarked to myself "Well this is gonna be a BAD day."
I had no idea just how bad.
Willie called from work seconds later. He demanded me to turn on the television. He sounded scared.
I had never heard fear in my husband's voice before. So I went in the living room and turned it on. I stood there staring at the screen, phone in my hand, confused. What was I looking at? I recognized the World Trade Center Towers. I knew what Manhattan looked like, but I could not immediately register what I saw. I sat on the edge of the couch, perched there for the next hour as the story of the day unfolded before the world. I saw a burning skyscraper, I saw a plane fly into the second Tower, I saw smoke, so much smoke, I saw people jumping to their deaths, I saw firefighters with fear in their eyes, I saw ash fall and blanket the silenced city, I saw heroes go in and NOT come out, I saw people running from the scene, I saw Tower Two fall in on itself, I saw Tower One fall.
I heard sirens, I heard broadcasters in shock, I heard the crumbling of the towers caving in on themselves, I heard the litter falling like snow, then I heard silence.
I remember crying openly, I called my mom, I called my sisters, I called my friends. I cried. I remember making homemade chocolate chip cookies later in the evening as I remained glued to the TV. I held my boys close and cuddled on the couch with my husband..all arguments forgotten.
I had nightmares for years. Any large building I entered, I had to formulate an exit plan in my head. I still do this today. I imagine the "worst case scenario" in every crowded or large building. I hate parking garages and I am afraid they will collapse on me.
Friday night on the way home from a swim meet, Collier asked me if Willie and I remember September 11th. If we do, do we feel emotional still? This question was prompted by his Social Studies teacher as they were learning about the events of that horrible and historical day.
I answered immediately.."yes, Collier. I still feel great emotion for that day."
We taught him all things that we learned following those events and on Sunday night, September 11, 2011, TEN years later, I sat surrounded by my husband and boys all piled on our bed, and still sat shocked at the footage I saw.
We do live in a world that has changed from when I was younger. Our children grow up in this new world where terrorists take what they want, but I teach my children about terrorists in language they understand, I talk to them about fears and justice, sorrow and grief. I talk to them about the heroes honored and heroes fallen, I tell them about the power of God and of humanity, I tell them of love, forgiveness, and moving on, I teach them about kindness, patients, and understanding of others, and I teach them most about FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, and the greatest of all....LOVE.
Whatever their future holds in this new world, I know they will be ready and will endure as God is with them just as I know he was with those who perished and sacrificed on that dreadful day.
With our Father in Heaven, we can rise again and again and again, never to fear or to fall.
These verses of scripture always comfort me in every trial I have ever gone through...it is a special promise from Heavenly Father. May this promise bring peace to those who lost or deal daily with the burden of living through September 11, 2001.
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou shall endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over thy foes. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8)
"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if the fierce winds become thine enemy;if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up thy way;and above all, IF THE VERY JAWS OF HELL GAPE AFTER THEE, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The son of man hath descended below all things...art thou greater than HE? Therefore, hold on thy ways, and I shall be with thee...therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever." (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-9)
I saw evidence of love, I saw man helping and sacrificing for others, I saw bravery in the fearful, I saw heroes born, I saw new spirits emerge, strength, determination, resolve, and courage. I saw the very Devil that September day as Hell's jaws gaped after Americans, I also saw the power and strength of God that September day. God emerged as the victor that day. God will alway be the victor and as long as Americans are on God's side, Americans will remain the victors!
God bless America, FOREVER!