Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You When . . . . ?

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.

14 comments:

MugwumpMom said...

Father in Heaven,

Bring peace to my American friends today...and every day. Heal the wounds in their land from this and other events that stir up fear and isolation, maybe even apathy. Use all of these events to bring true revival to the land..the repentant, glorifying You kind, and may that revival flow from their land to ours, and to other nations. Restore the church in nations to it's original design, and restore each member of the body to their individual original design and purpose. Bring about Your shalom and open the eyes of their collective heart, that they may all as one, turn to You.

Give the leadership in the land wisdom and fill them up with a knowledge of You and Your will concerning wars and rumours of wars.

Comfort each wife, mother, daughter, father and brother who has someone overseas...from all nations...and protect their loved ones. Bring Your peace to the Middle Eest and Jerusalem.

Amen

Lynn said...

I have made peace with my God.

I too feel we have to be ready for Eternity.

Your husband put it eloquantly.

I do my best to fulfill my dreams every day. I hope that through my example my children do the same.

Thanks,

My remember is up

PEA said...

Reading this post made me remember where I was and what I was doing at the time of these tragic events...some of them I was quite young but I still remember my mom crying and sitting there listening to the news when Kennedy was shot, as well as Martin Luther King. I, myself, remember the other events you mentioned...I know that some people question God WHY these things had to happen but like your husband said, we must learn from those tragedies and be prepared.

Pamela said...

When the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City? I can't believe your brother was a whole two blocks away, and still, the blast was so powerful that he was thrown across his desk and missed being killed with the window and casing coming in and landing right on his desk. Oh my word, Dawn, praise the Lord!

My Sister-in-law Lisa, home schools her five kids in San Diego, yet their oldest son still had to go to school for something and the same thing that happened at Columbine High School, happened that morning to them at their school, while he was there. It was very hard on him.

What an incredible post Dawn, so much to think about, so devastating, and yet our great Nation pulls together and bounces back! We are indeed proud to be Americans! :)

Ashley said...

hi! i posted today on where i was on sept 11th. that was a great post you did...mine's not near as eloquent as yours but thought i'd share!

Barb said...

You and I must be the same age. I was sitting in my eighth grade history class when Kennedy was shot. And Columbine was terrifying since we both lived so close to that. I was still on your side of the Rockies then. I had girlfriends with kids going to school there. Amazing how I can't always remember what happened last week but I can remember what I was wearing when these huge things happened.

Lee-ann said...

I do not reflect on were I was on this day five years ago, but rather what I am doing today, Today I pray that those who have gone before me now sit beside our father and are preparing a place for us there too. I pray they did not nor do not suffer but see that their lives have been blessed.

I also pray that those who have done these horrible acts against their own are also standing before god and that they are being shown their sin's against all mankind, and that their shame covers their faces for forever more.

Your blog is beautiful and I am so pleased I visited you today.
Lee-ann

kpjara said...

I definitely think it's important to remember. I think of the memory stones God had the people use to always remember what He had brought them through. I can't help but think of Jacob and his renaming.

lori said...

Thank you for this post. I reflected yesterday on how it has changed my life. "What would I do if I knew it was the last day I would be alive" Would you live differently? This is what I tried to learn from all of this. We don't know when the day or the hour will be.

Pam in Colorado said...

What a great reminder of the many events that have happened in a relatively short period in history. May we stop forgetting so that we may be ready in mind, body and, most importantly, in our eternal soul.

Thanks for sharing.

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Very good reminder that there have been many awful events, some affected a small group of people, some our entire nation. To think that evil cant come onto our soil is naive. Even if we aren't attacked again by Osama Bin Laden, there will be awful things that happen, and we need to use them to testify that life is fading grass - eternity may be just around the corner for each of us. We need to preach with our lives and our mouths.

Pam in Colorado said...

Hey, Dawn! I used to live in Brooklyn Center, MN (a suburb of Minneapolis). We only lived in Colorado Springs for 4 months. We live in CaƱon City, CO. My husband commutes back and forth each day though.

Maine Mom said...

I think it's good to be reminded that our lives can change in an instant. It helps us pay more attention to the important things around us, like our family.
It's sad to have tragedies happen. I'm glad to know that I have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love me and have a plan for me and my family to return to them.

Grafted Branch said...

It's interesting you bring up all those other "where were you" moments...we recently had the opportunity to take an oral history on video by my mother in law. During the interview, we asked her (she's 83) which day was more impactful in her opinion: Kennedy's assassination or 9/11? She said Kennedy's assassination because of the "orphan" nature of the tragedy -- the nation was without a leader. I didn't know that would be her answer, but it was an honest.