Tuesday, Sept. 11, is designated as Patriot Day. Not Patriot’s Day, celebrated in New England in April to commemorate those who fought for Independence in our nations infancy. Patriot Day. Approved by a vote of 407-0 in by the U.S.
House of Representatives and signed into law by President George W. Bush in
Dec. 2001, this day is set aside as a day of remembrance for the nearly 3,000
who died on 9-11 during the terrorist attacks.
I remember that day.
I was coming in to work a little bit late, and while getting ready was
watching the Today show and a report came in that what appeared to be a small
plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers and they had a reporter on the
scene discussing the situation when the second plane hit the other tower and
all hell broke loose.
Along with countless other Americans that day and into the night, I prayerfully watched the coverage of crashes and fires in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, but it was when those towers collapsed that so did my heart. I had seen footage of those firemen and policemen who had run away when the first tower had come down, regroup, dust themselves off, and head back in to tower number two, knowing fully well that it might crumble and fall and that they might die. But there were people that needed to be helped, so they were duty bound to go back in. And they did, many never to return.
We learned later of the struggle on flight 93 over Pennsylvania, headed to Newark NJ, diverted to Washington DC and now flying toward the Capitol. Civilian heroes
realized what was happening, heard through loved ones on cell phones that
attacks on New York and DC had begun, and decided that this plane was not going to be a part of the terrorist’s plans, overpowered the hijackers and crashed
the plane. Heroes. Patriots.
Six years later, I stood at the site where a fourth plane entered the Pentagon. There’s a beautiful memorial park there now, and a chapel inside built to commemorate those who lost their lives during the attacks in our nations capitol. It was sobering to think that the strongest nation in the world could be subjected to that kind of carnage. But it could have been worse.
Those towers held over 10,000 people. No one knows for sure how many were actually inside at the time of the attack, but the actions of countless professional as well as civilian rescuers kept that toll from being much worse. Guiding people down darkened stairwells,wrestling armed hijackers for control of a plane, carrying injured people to safety, returning to burning buildings to find those last survivors; there was much patriotism demonstrated that day as well as proof of the existence of the brotherhood of mankind.
Scripture says “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:3. In the midst of horror, death and hate, great love was at work that day.
Let’s say a prayer on Patriot Day. A prayer of thanksgiving for our freedoms. A word of thanks for those who’ve made it possible. A prayer on behalf of the families left behind, the many who were injured, and those who are still experiencing mental, financial, or social distress. And a prayer that I would be the kind of person that loves, cares, sacrifices, and lives in such a way as to promote an America we can all be proud to live in. God bless America.