Jim West has posted his recollection of what he was doing on 9/11/01. This led to my own reflection. I remember it vividly. Indeed, it is crystal clear.
I was a sophomore in undergrad at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. I woke up for my 9am English literature class a bit later than usual, and my roommate was sleeping, so I left the TV off. At the start of class the professor said these words: “I trust you know what is going on in our country right now. We need prayers.” Truth be told, I appeared to be the only one in the room oblivious to what had happened mere minutes earlier. I asked a friend of mine, who tried to explain it. I didn’t get it. It didn’t register.
After class I hurried back to my dorm room and put the news on. One of the towers had already collapsed. I would watch live as the other did. All day I watched in horror, in sadness, and in reflection. I left the TV on that night as I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning they were now talking about a person relatively unknown to me at the time: Osama bin Laden. Yes, I remember vividly.
On 9/11/01 I recorded the news all day. I still have two full six hour VHS tapes. I knew I was watching history. Something akin to Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassination, or the liberation of the concentration camps. But what struck me most that day was my need to preserve this. I remember. And I wanted my future children to be able to see what absolute fanatacism looks like. What it results in. And I wanted them to see what it looked like when the world changed in an instant. Now, with a son of my own, that desire is all the more potent.
I still remember . . . . one year later. 9/11/02. The memorial service. Hearing the names read of all the victims. I still remember . . . . two years later. Hearing Rudy Giuliani speak about it at my undergrad. The firefighters, police, and rescuers were his heroes. They should be all our heroes. And I still remember, eight years later.
God’s continued blessing on the families of those who lost loved ones that day. May we never forget.