It was a bit before 9 AM when one of Gorgeous’ girlfriends called and told us to “turn on CNN. A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center.” The friend knew I was from upstate NY and went to school in the Bronx.
College in NYC
When I got to college in the “big city” I would go down to the financial district on Sunday mornings just because there were so few people around. I enjoyed the solitude of being on those streets still wet from the street sweepers the night before that were so unusually empty amongst all those huge buildings.
Some days, especially really clear ones, I’d stick around long enough to head up to the observation deck of the World Trade Center and look down on the city.
The First Images
As I reached for the remote my background flying with the navy told me that some private pilot must have gotten way off course in bad weather. But as soon as I saw the image of that tower burning on the TV I knew that was no private plane. The fire was far too big to be a Cessna. Plus it was blue skies and unlimited visibility in NYC.
All those memories of my school days came flooding back to me as I watched the fire in that first tower. I couldn’t imagine how a big plane in some of the most congested airspace on the planet could have gotten so far off course, especially in good weather.
And then I watched the second plane hit and everything changed. It was instantly obvious that the second plane hit that building intentionally. The evil that would do such a thing was mind boggling.
But then I hold a world view that says there’s a Great Deceiver out there who is hostile to all of humanity and whose primary goal is to steal, kill and destroy any human being possible.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.— John 10:10
I watched in disbelief as the towers collapsed in on themselves. My thoughts were for the thousands of people who had to have been still in the buildings. And their families. Each one of those lives is precious.
At that point I called the office. One of my coworkers was also from NY and I knew his brother was NYC police officer. He hadn’t been able to reach his brother at that point. Since I knew he wouldn’t be able to focus on work (and what we did at the time was pretty high pressure stuff) I drove into the office to relieve him and worked the rest of his shift.
A bunch has changed in the last eleven years. Now we have stand in long lines so we can take our shoes off and empty our pockets before we fly. Our military has been in active combat around the globe since that day.
Now when someone says 9-11 we know they mean this day.
Yet so much hasn’t changed.
Our culture is still just as far from God and selfish as ever. The biggest debates we’re having revolve around moral issues. And God’s opinion is not the reigning one these days.
Even so I see hope for us. God is loving. He doesn’t bring tragedy on people. He brings life – that rich and satisfying life that Jesus talked about.
We believers just need to get that message out there.