(Cover Image from Congressman Jim Jordan’s Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/repjimjordan)
For many it is the vivid account of where they were on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese planes descended upon Pearl Harbor. For many others they recall with clarity black and white images of Dallas, Texas in the year 1963 and the words of a stunned Walter Kronkite, “The President has been shot”: words that have replayed over in their minds as they recall exactly where they stood, what they were doing, and when they heard the news of President Kennedy’s assassination. On September 11, 2001, yet another generation would experience the unthinkable and would be handed the same unforgettable and heavy memory to pass along to their children and grandchildren.
I remember where I was on that beautiful, fall-like morning, a picturesque beginning to a day that was to be transformed into images we will hold in our hearts forever. Horror coupled with bravery, courage in light of carnage unfolded before our eyes on a crisp September day. From the 9-11 Commission Report we are told (paraphrasing),
American flight 11 takes off from Logan Airport in Boston at 7:59 A.M. for Los Angeles, United flight 175 takes off from Logan airport in Boston for Los Angeles at 8:14 A.M., American flight 77 takes off from Washington D.C. for Los Angeles at 8:20 A.M. and United flight 93 takes off from Newark New Jersey bound for San Francisco at 8:42 A.M. At 8:46 A.M. American flight 11 crashes into 1 World Trade Center, at 9:03 A.M. United flight 175 crashes into 2 World Trade Center, at 9:37 A.M. American flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, and at 10:03 A.M. United flight 93 crashes into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The New York skyline was penetrated with aggression. Washington D.C. was attacked at the hub of our National Defense. Brave Americans sacrificed their lives over the serene countryside of rural America, bringing down a plane saving untold lives in our nation’s Capitol. When the dust settled and the sun set on that day, 2,985 Americans had died.
But we are Americans and Americans get back up. We are Americans and Americans defend freedom, from Todd Beamer’s words from Flight 93 echoing to us yet today, “Let’s roll,” to President Bush’s impromptu address from atop the rubble at ground zero:
“I want you all to know that America today, America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. . . .”
When the crowd told the President, “We can’t hear you,” he responded,
“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon!”
They did hear from us, and though 13 years have passed, the memory still remains vivid in our hearts and minds. May we never forget the heroism and courage of soldiers and first responders alike that answered the call that day and are still protecting us this very hour. May we never forget the God we called upon that day and who still is blessing this great land. The Scriptures remind us of the grand truth our Founding Fathers knew well: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalms 33:12).
From the incredible bravery found in the blue skies that morning to the selfless sacrifice of those rescuing colleagues and fellow soldiers in the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, our hearts will forever be shaped and our minds will forever be focused on that day. Americans will stand and defend freedom, and Americans will move forward with courage and determination committed to remembering the past and preparing for the future. Together we look forward to a day without fear, a day of blessing and peace, when we are motivated to live more trusting of our Creator as we build a better future for today and for those who follow in our footsteps.
Allow me to share a brief conversation I was blessed to have with Lynn Faulkner, whose wife, Wendy, was one of the victims of the terrorist attack on 9/11. Wendy was in the south tower that morning and would never return to her Mason, Ohio home or her family. His words have since inspired and challenged my heart. He simply said,
“Thanks for not forgetting!”
May we as a nation never forget.
Tim Throckmorton is the Pastor of Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio. In 2010 he released a DVD project entitled Lest We Forget, followed by a companion book in 2011. His latest book, Jesus Hit Me, was released in the fall of 2013.
All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.
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