Although Fridays usually start with me going back to bed after the little kids leave for school, it didn't work out that way today. So I found myself sitting in the big, comfy, recliner listening to Laura Ingraham interview Andrew Breitbart (he rocks); sipping hot tea in my jammies. Out of nowhere I heard a "ta-da" and realized that it was a cell phone text or calendar alarm. I knew it wasn't mine and that it came from a pile of old cell phones MJF was organizing to send to some organization that pays you according to their worth. Anything to make a few extra bucks!
I pulled Drew's old cell phone out, opened it up and there it was in bold letters: 9/11/09 NEVER FORGET, and I started to cry. My precious 19 year old son, only 11 at the time those towers were hit, had set this reminder to go off every year.
That's really why I couldn't go back to sleep this morning. That says a lot since I relish being able to climb back under my covers and doze on and off listening to my favorite morning radio guys Rick and Bubba. The memories of 9/11/01 flooded my mind and the sadness of how far down the slippery slope our country is going just made me unable to relax and rest. So when that "ta-da" sounded and I saw that my son had made sure he would NEVER FORGET, all the emotion that I didn't even realize was still there flooded my heart.
That day 8 years ago changed our whole family. With MJF being a special agent in the FBI he was immediately taken from our home and told to be clear with his family that a return date could not be given. I didn't know on the day he left if he'd return in a week, a month, or longer. We had just moved into a new home in a new town and didn't have phone or cable television yet (that was immediately remedied). I was pregnant with Kate and very, very sick. The boys - 11, 8, and 3 were still not completely unpacked and I was homeschooling. I knew no one, most of my home was still in boxes and I was using all I had to be "supportive" to MJF who had a huge mission ahead of him, pulling bodies or what was left of them out of the pentagon. Each night he was gone I fell asleep to Fox News playing and replaying the towers being hit and woke throughout the night and each morning to the same pictures. I had to decipher what was best for each child regarding what they'd watch and what they wouldn't. But the one thing we would all watch was our precious President George W Bush give one of the most moving funeral messages I'd ever heard.
By the time MJF returned I had arranged for Josh to be put into preschool and told him that upon getting off the train (planes were still not flying) he was to go to the elementary school and arrange for the boys to be enrolled. Ten days without MJF wasn't difficult. Ten days without MJF immediately following the 9/11 attacks was unbearable. That event changed him in ways I will never understand. It changed me in ways I can't articulate. It changed the entire course of our family dynamics.
Of course there are many, many people whose lives changed in far more serious and sad ways than mine. I write this not to in any way assume that what the attacks on 9/11/01 did to change our family and ourselves mattered at all to anyone but us and God. I write this to share my thoughts and my memories.
Ronald Reagan said many years before that horrible event:
I believe with all my heart
that standing up for America means
standing up for the God who has so blessed
We need God's help to guide our nation
through stormy seas.
But we can't expect him to protect
America in a crisis if we just leave Him
over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.
I firmly believe in God's total Sovereignty. I believe with all my heart that not a germ goes by or a thought is expressed that isn't known to God. I am convinced that He allows whatever He wants to allow for purposes that we may or may not one day understand. He is God and we are not. I can't help but wonder if our leaving God on the shelf in our day-to-day living as Americans had something to do with God allowing those planes to hit the towers. I, of course, will never know on this side of heaven but it wouldn't surprise me. What is so terribly disappointing is that for the few weeks that followed the attacks it seemed we, as Americans, were going to get our lives together and focus on eternal things again. Sadly, in the end, that didn't happen.
For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill.
the eyes of all people are upon us. so that if we shall deal falsely with our
God in this task we have undertaken and so cause
Him to withdraw His present help from us,
we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.
governor of the massachusetts bay colony 1630
America was born a Christian nation. America was born
to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which
are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Part of
the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great
book of revelations. That if they would see America free and pure
they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism
of the Holy Spirit.
president woodrow wilson
Our strength lies in spiritual concepts.
It lies in public sensitiveness to evil. Our greatest
danger is not from invasion by foreign armies.
Our dangers are that we may commit suicide
from within by complaisance with evil, or
by public tolerance of scandalous behavior.
president herbert hoover
I pray that these words from men who long ago had no inkling that anything like the attacks of 9/11/01 would ever take place, would pierce our hearts and remind us that "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 chron. 7:14; italics mine)
May we truly never forget.