There have been defining moments in the history of our lives and of our country that I have experienced. As we commemorate this horrible day in the life of America, I am drawn to those other watershed days as well. September 11, 2001 - I was on my way to work. Kristen and I rode to work together in those days and we dropped her stepson off at day-care and headed across town. The first tower was hit. My first thought was that it was a small plane and the pilot had somehow gotten off course. Between the time I parked my car and got into my office, the second one had hit. My son called to see if I knew what was going on - he couldn't get to class because he couldn't keep his eyes off the news.
I go back in my mind to November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot. I did not like him personally or politically. In fact, as an 8th grader I had become very politically aware and had campaigned against him as fanatically as an eighth grader, who is not even old enough to vote, can do. But I was just as sad and stunned that day as the rest of the world. What was happening to us? I was in 11th grade algebra class. The class clown came in and told us the president had been shot. We told him to quit - that it wasn't funny to say something like that. Little did we know that the innocence of our youth was shattered that day, and would be much more so as Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were subsequently killed in the aftermath. What dark days those were.
Where were you the day of the Challenger explosion, which killed astronauts and the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe? I was working in an elementary school at the time, serving lunch. I walked in at 10:15 to find the entire school in the sunken library - with not a sound to be heard. That was the most amazing feeling - complete silence in an elementary school. I had walked that day, so had not heard the news. Another jolting tragedy.
Where were you on the day the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City? I was here at my desk when I began to hear bits and pieces of the news that April morning. I knew that my brother worked in a federal building down there, but had no idea which one. There were many tense moments as I tried to reach him - which of course was impossible. I finally learned, thank the Lord, that he was two blocks away. But the blast was so powerful that he was thrown across his desk and hit the wall on the other side of his office. If he had not been thrown out of his desk chair, he would have probably been killed, because the window and casing came in and landed right on his desk.
Where were you when the Columbine High School slaughter happened? Again, I was here at my job. I went to the student center for lunch and found more students than normal were gathered around the t.v. sets, again in total silence.
All of these events have changed us as individuals and as a country. It has made us more fearful, more cynical, more sad. Our hope is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He knows what is in the hearts of men and what will happen. As my husband reminded us yesterday in Sunday school class, we need to be ready for eternity, because it can happen in a heartbeat when we least expect it. This is not meant to be maudlin or depressing, but to make us think about our mortality and the immortality of our hope in Jesus.
God bless you all.