On this day, 18 years ago, I was preparing to go to a chiropractor’s appointment when our phone rang—not the cell phone, but the cordless landline. (Cell phones were still something we only used if we didn’t have access to a landline.)
My dad called to tell us that someone had blown up the World Trade Center. Being a west coast girl who’d never been to New York, I couldn’t conjure a picture of this World Trade Center place in my mind. My mom rushed into the living room and turned on the TV. As we watched smoke rising from one two towering skyscrapers, I watched the unthinkable—a plane flew directly into the second tower.
Even then—even when we didn’t have a clue what was going on—it looked intentional. I had never seen anything like it in my life. I’d seen the pictures of devastation from the terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, but never had I witnessed a suicide attack.
We watched in horror as people jumped from the building to their deaths just to avoid being burned alive. I suddenly remembered that I had an appointment, but was un sure whether it was safe or even proper in light of what was happening.
All those poor people, dead in an instant…
Were we under attack?
Would they strike one of our bases here?
What was happening?!?!
The day became more bizarre as events unfolded. A plane crashed into our Pentagon. Another went down in a lonely field in Pennsylvania. The normally noisy skies of San Diego were eerily silent for the entire day. The morning radio shows were unusually sober as I made my way nervously to the chiropractor’s Office, glancing at the skies every so often for any sign of rogue planes.
I was home for the rest of the day after my appointment. I cancelled my plans for the evening.
I learned about a group called Al Qaeda, was introduced to unfamiliar words like “jihad,” and was shocked at how those men were able to coordinate such a vicious attack on Americans.
I’ll never forget that day.
Initially, it seemed as though our country had experienced a much-needed wake-up call and was preparing to unify. Sadly, as the days and months passed, people slowly forgot…
Sometimes, as I read the Bible, I wonder how the Israelites could so quickly forget the 10 plagues or the years of misery in their Egyptian bondage. Yet as I reflect on the 18 years since those attacks, I begin to understand.
We are a naturally forgetful people.
We often forget the important in the face of the immediate.
We forget the many times God has delivered or protected us when faced with a new crisis.
We forget the power of God when we allow the present to overshadow His presence in our minds and hearts.
When we need to extend forgiveness, we forget that we have been forgiven.
In times of pleasure, we forget the one who pulled us through our pain.
Forgetting is natural; remembering is intentional.
Father, help me not to lose sight of the important in the rush of the immediate. May I always remember your faithfulness and love no matter how pleasant or painful this world becomes.