Last night, I was captivated by the 9/11 documentaries that flooded the TV stations. Stories of sorrow, heroism, bravery and hope played over and over again. The images of that horrific day pierced my heart to the core. Like many other Americans, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of the attacks. On September 11th, 2001, I was a freshman in high school sitting in my first period class when an announcement was made over the PA system from our principal stating that something bad happened in New York City. When that class concluded, I went to my next period and watched the TV with my teacher and classmates in disbelief. The images of people running through the streets of New York City covered in white ash seemed like something out of a movie. Watching an airplane go through the second building and seeing both buildings fall to the ground was utterly unimaginable. What began as a normal school day turned into a day of mourning and desperation, and an attempt to have class as usual was completely out of the question as we all tried to wrap our minds around what was happening.
How can people be so evil? Why did this horrible event happen to so many good people? What is going on in the world? These were all of the questions that ran through my mind all throughout the rest of my school day as I longed to be at home with my family that I love so dear. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally finished out my school day and watched more coverage of the attack at home with my parents and brother. I believe that these questions, and many others like them, have gone through all of our minds in the wake of the terrorist attack on 9/11, and only God truly knows the answers.
If you are reading this today, there’s a great chance that you or someone you know was directly affected by this horrible act of terrorism. If you personally lost a friend or loved one on 9/11, I cannot begin to imagine how you feel and I am so sorry for your loss. The thought of losing a loved one in such an evil way is inconceivable to me. It’s been said that time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe that to be true. Even though it has been 10 years since 9/11, I’m sure that the hurt still remains in many hearts. Although there are many things that I don’t know or understand about this tragedy, I do know this without a shadow of a doubt: that there is hope in Jesus Christ and that God specializes in bringing good things out of hopeless situations. In Isaiah 61, the Word of God tells us that Jesus came to “console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3-4 NKJV)
As we take time today to reflect on the events of 9/11, I believe that we must make a conscious effort to see the beauty in the ashes. To remember all of the brave fireman, policeman and every day Americans that risked their lives for their fellow Americans as they exemplified the greatest commandment in loving their neighbor as themselves. May we be thankful for the lives that were spared and rejoice in the great stories of triumph and the will to survive in the face of death. May we give to God our questions, concerns, sorrow, mourning and ashes from this tragic event and receive joy, beauty and praise instead.
God Bless America.
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
1 Peter 3:3-4