Psalm 9:9 “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
Do you remember where you were 11 years ago today? I do. Thinking about it, my skin still shivers with the fear I felt that cool fall morning. Being married to the military for over 20 years had taught me well. I knew as soon as I saw that second plane hit the World Trade Center that our nation was under attack. My heart ached for what I watched on television that morning as we kept viewing the video over and over and over again. My world and the world that my children would grow up in would never be the same.
War was a game my husband and his fellow soldiers played a few times a year when they “went to the field” to shoot weapons and practice maneuvers. Live fire exercises were for the public to come watch, bringing picnic lunches and being awed by the big guns and gilly suits. My children had grown up in a time when war was a distant memory and conflict took about a week. We flew in, threw our military might around, captured the bad guy, and came home to throw a few steaks on the grill while bragging about never having fired a shot.
The images of that day play in my mind sometimes when I least expect it. The overwhelming fear I felt until I heard my daughter’s voice from the Pentagon telling me she was ok. The tears of my son in law when I was able to tell him she had called. The relief I felt when my husband’s plane was grounded before he could take off. The staggering losses that mounted by the hour. The long lines of people who wanted to give blood and the absence of victims to accept that blood. The videos of people jumping to their deaths from hundreds of feet up. The shock you could see in everyone’s eyes.
I kept my store open that day. I suppose the normalcy of a day to day routine kept me from giving in to the fear that our city might be next. We were after all, the home of the 82nd Airborne. Surely after the Pentagon, they would come after the soldiers. My employees stayed, even when told to go home. Customers came and went, some crying, many to stare at the television I had hastily set up in the corner. We lit candles, we prayed, we talked, we wondered what the next hour would bring.
At the end of the day we went home to our families. Home to hug our children and grandchildren. Home to stare yet again at the television, hoping against hope that what we had seen that morning was all a dream. Wishing that somehow a big crowd of people would be found in the rubble that was once the center of our country’s financial district. We got out our flags, dusted off our Bibles, wrote in our journals, called our friends and loved ones. We worried that the end had finally come.
Sadly I find that to most people, 9/11 is just a day on the calendar. Oh they remember that we were attacked but it was so removed from their everyday lives that it was quickly over and gone. For a brief moment we saw churches filled to capacity, neighbors helping each other, main streets filled with flags, parades, and patriotism. But soon life went back to normal. For everyone, that is, except our soldiers and their families. For them, the ramifications of that day are still as fresh as that cool fall morning.
Spend some time with your Father in Heaven today, thanking Him for letting you live in the greatest country on earth. Thank Him for the soldiers who fight and die to protect your right to go on with your normal. Honor their memory by taking your children to a veterans cemetery. Point out to them that these brave men and women sacrificed their lives for our freedom. They died to protect us from the evil that wants to destroy all that God has blessed us with. For as Christ told His followers in John 15:13 “there is not greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Dearest Father God, Your mercies overwhelm us. You have given us more than we ever deserve. You have blessed us as a nation to be free to worship You. Your love for us is such an awesome gift. We pray that we might never let the evil that rages at our door overtake us. We pray that the soldiers that guard our freedoms are covered in the armor of Your might. We pray for first responders who run in while we are running out. Give them the strength they need to do their jobs and the protection of angels to keep them from harm. Remind us to never let our guard down. Your words give us the power to overcome adversity. Keep us on our knees Lord. Help us never lose sight of our Heavenly goal. In the name of Christ Jesus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Amen.
copyright2012, Michelle Welch, Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved
scripture from NIV1984 Bible