September 11th: Seeing Everything

September 11th, 2008

I detour from our standard Daily Thread format today to reflect upon a date that is also an event: September 11th.  This day has defined the worldview of the current American generation.  As a student of history, I doubt that the average “younger” American grasps the significance of how this day changed the course of our culture.  For a moment, let’s take a look at a day that will live in infamy in our history books forever.

I was student teaching in a middle school on September, 11th, 2001.  My role that day was really more “observer” than teacher.  I’ll never forget the moment that a teacher told us to turn on the television.  On that small, classroom monitor mounted inconspicuously in the corner of the room, we (along with the nation) beheld a horrible image.

The first plane’s impact was obvious from the clouds of smoke and debris.  News anchors were speculating on whether or not this was an accident.  Then, the emergence of a second plane onto the screen confirmed our worst fears and sealed the fate of thousands of innocent victims who were desperately trying to evacuate the World Trade Center towers.

To my dismay, one of the middle schoolers in that class shouted out, “Cool!” After a stern rebuke from the teacher, he piped down.  Was he unpatriotic?  Did he have no feelings?  No, he was a fading reflection of what our children used to be like before this disaster.  The concept was so foreign to him and his security was so certain that he wasn’t yet connecting the event on the screen with reality.  In his mind, it was just another movie explosion made realistic with special effects.  It was just another video game.  

But he was wrong.  This was no game.

The images are still fresh in the minds of most Americans.  The largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history shook the foundations of our confidence and tested the strength of our unity.  The economy took an immediate hit as consumers fearfully locked themselves indoors and avoided trips to the store.  The college football and baseball seasons came to a halt as games were postponed for fear of the unknown.  Our nation reeled in shock.

This generation probably doesn’t quite comprehend the impact of the media on an event like September 11th.  Unlike the few black and white images we have of Japanese airplanes bombing Pearl Harbor in 1941, Americans viewed literally thousands of images from all angles and from all viewpoints of the carnage of these attacks.  From the planes striking the buildings to people leaping to their deaths to many grueling months of dangerous recovery efforts, we saw everything.

Seeing everything has a profound effect upon one’s psyche.  Just ask a dad who waited in the waiting room versus one who witnessed the delivery of his child.  In this day and age, we see everything.  Communication is more efficient and more readily available than ever.  My iPhone allows me to ascertain through GPS my own location or the location of my other “iPhone” friends with the touch of a button and with the advantage of satellite imagery.  We want our eyes to be opened to everything.

History is filled with images of atrocities that no camera was present to capture. Millions have been slaughtered . . . in your very lifetime . . . in genocidal campaigns in Africa.  Eastern Europe is constantly plagued with political and social instability.  Poverty and starvation are rampant on multiple continents in our world.  Even here at home, homelessness, drug addiction, and violence are mainstays of our society.  We may not see these images as clearly as the images of September 11th, but God sure does.

So today as we remember those terrible images that we saw some seven years ago and that we still see today on our televisions, I encourage you to make sure you “see everything.”  You may see the evil plans of terrorists’ schemes, but I hope that you also see the comforting presence of a loving God.  You may see a generation robbed of their security, but I pray that you also see a God who’s hand still holds our eternal stability.  We all see a world filled with evil, corruption, and pain; but may we make it our goal to help that world see a God who’s love guarantees peace and unconditional grace to all who ask.

God sees and He intervenes daily in ways we may never know the extent of.  As we face the future, I pray that our eyes will focus on the only One who has the ability to sustain us.  

God bless all the families of the victims of September 11th and those soldiers who are still waging a war against terrorism.  May His grace be upon you all.

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~ by johndriver on September 11, 2008.

8 Responses to “September 11th: Seeing Everything”

  1. Every generation has a “moment.” For some it was World War 2, for some it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. My generation’s moment is September 11. Even now when I watch news footage of what happened that day, my heart fills with horror and the horror feels just as fresh as the day it happened.

    The days following that dreadful day, I saw many, many people come to God for comfort, hope, security, and yes, for answers too. The churches were full. There seemed to be an “awakening” of sorts. People prayed. They wanted to! I’m not sure how many of those people are still seeking God as if it were the day after 9/11, but I hope they are still holding on to the Rock the never falters and wavers. He is absolutely the only sure thing we have!

  2. Everyone’s heart was filled with horror that day. Me being in the first grade, I remember coming home and my mother and father had tears in their eyes. I remeber being so young at the time, not knowing what was going on. My mother told me it was a terriorist attack. It was an ‘awakening.’
    God bless you all. And have a great day.(:

  3. WOW!!! what a wonderful expression and description of WHAT to remember from 9-11. Thanks for sharing every day! I enjoy reading the Thread every day. Love you and your family, Loni

  4. I remember that day. Second grade, I believe.
    I was outside with my cousin… we were playing soccer together, getting ready for our first practice that was just a few hours away. I remember my other cousin coming outside, telling us we wouldn’t be having soccer practice. That really made me perturbed. Funny how I remember exactly how the sky looked when I glanced up, thinking the cancellation was caused by weather. It only made me more mad… the sky had only one or two fluffy, white clouds. I ran inside after that to share my madness with my mother who was on the phone, crying, and watching TV. She’s good at multitasking. I looked at the TV and then I knew why soccer practice was canceled. Although, I did ask my mom why in the world that affected us Floridians. I definitely understand better now.

    That was a crazy day.
    I also remember a lot of people urging others to pray for the families, Christians or not.

    I can’t believe it’s been 7 years.
    That’s half of my life…..

  5. I remmber coming home my mom was crying she told me what happend. I was only in kindergarten but i knew what went on. At first i thought my uncle was there i think God everyday that he was not there i cried to just the thought that that could have happend. I know today when he puts on that army uniform he think about those people that lost their loved ones and there lives. Kiss your loved one and think God that that they are there.

  6. Unlike otherrrs, i dont remember the day exactly. But i do remember crying alot because as you may or may NOT know… i cry easily at disturbing things. like death. hudreds and hundreds of people..gone. And i wasnt necessarily crying cause of the people that died but mostly for there families…This day will be remembered. forever ❤

    I still pray for there families. This day must really really stink for them, ya know.

    bye bye
    ~Chloe

  7. Ah, i;m so glad you touched on that last part about our God giving us hope no matter how grim our situation seems. We hear so much about how someone got in a wreck and how they miraculously recovered and God is so great for doing that but we tend to forget that this morning on my way to school I did not even come close to getting in a wreck and God was the one who did that too. He protected me and I did not even know it. He gives me breath everyday for crying out loud and stuff like that is so easily overlooked. Praise God for his unspoken blessings!

  8. In my psychology class, a girl brought up a statement she heard on the radio about September 11. Some guy mentioned that he hates religion because if we did not have christianity in our country, then the attacks would have never happened to America. Now, I’m not trying to get into a discussion about why we were attacked, but to simply think of the question , “What if there was no God in our country?” I just sat in my class wondering how in the world we would have even made it seven years WITHOUT God in it. Without God’s hand over that horrible day we would be much worse. There is a certain peace that comes with every bad situation, that is if you take hold of it. When chaos occurs God has shown us time after time how clearly he is in control of things. God uses every bad situation for the good. I pray that God will give a peace to every person who lost someone they loved in 9/11.

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