Ten years ago, in the name of God, cowards used planes as weapons, killing nearly 3,000 people in cold blood. However, the murderous terrorism of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was contrasted by the actions of heroic responders who rushed to the scene, and into it, to save as many lives as possible, even to the point of sacrificing their own lives. And where was God? In the suffering, trapped, and snuffed out humanity–that is was where God was. Ten years later, may these events never be forgotten, because those who lost loved ones will never forget.
I know that I’ll never forget what happened on September 11, 2001 as I watched most of the tragedy unfold before my very eyes. Moments before the second attack on the WTC, mom and I had just come back home from morning Mass and were about to eat breakfast when the phone rang and a neighbor alerted us to turn on the TV. We saw the gaping hole and smoke and I thought to myself, “why was the plane flying so low?” Suddenly, the second plane appeared, headed straight toward the other tower and I realized that this was no freak accident. It was only until they announced that the Pentagon was hit that it became clear to me that these were deliberate terrorist attacks. I never thought that such a thing could have ever happened on US soil.
What happened next was downright horrific. One of the towers collapsed and fell… and then the other tower followed. Lives were instantly gone. Many people had not made it out in time. That is when the shock set in. The twin towers were reduced to rubble while people were inside, including those who had gone in for rescue. That was when we begin to pray. We had already found out that those whom we knew in NYC were okay, and that my sister and my dad, both of whom were working in DC were also safe. But we did not know if there would be any other attacks.
That evening I found out about the fourth hijacked plane that was headed toward DC and was brought down by the passengers who sacrificed themselves to save others. Eventually the names and faces of all of the lost men and women poured in… it was all so tragic. Dads, moms, sons, daughters were slaughtered so callously. Following such evil and the good that rose to fight it, it made sense to live differently, to reach out to others in solidarity, and to take nothing/nobody for granted. I offer this post that we might not forget those who died and that we might live differently, in their honor.