Today your eleven year old eyes will feed images into your head and heart that you won’t quite understand. You will get a sinking feeling in your stomach when your sixth grade math teacher can’t exactly explain what is going on outside our school walls but you know it is bad. He is shaking and someone said planes flew into buildings. Your friends will leave school early and you’ll ride the bus home wondering what all the fear is for.
You will sit on the floor in the living room with the horrific images from the day playing over and over on the television. Your mind won’t even be able to comprehend the amount of people dead, wounded, and lost. You will cry because death is a familiar thing. Why would someone do something like that? Why so many people? Why couldn’t we stop it? Why?
You won’t know what “terrorist attack” even means and you will have never heard of “Osama bin Laden” until after today. The thought of someone having the desire to hurt a country so deeply is incomprehensible. You will admire the first responders that work for hours and hours on end to make something of all the damage done. You will also feel sad for the people who were behind the attacks. You will be conflicted with the right way to handle it all. You will hurt for the people who lost loved ones but secretly thank God that it was none of your family or friends. You will see your country come together in grief and fear. You hope that it all ends and everything will go back to normal soon.
Then there is a war.
Soldiers deploy to places on the other side of the world. The news has stories of soldiers dying all the time and the idea of war is not just something that you read about in your history book anymore. It is real life Your country is fighting.
You still won’t truly understand the weight of what happened that day.
In seven years, you will fall in love with a boy in the Army. He will charm you and love you well. It won’t be easy though. The thought of him being in the Army, going to war, coming home from war, among other things will scare you and you will push him away one summer. Take my advice. Skip all that. He is totally worth it. You will force yourself to face the fact that he will be fighting in the war that started ten years ago. When you were eleven. You hear and read about friends of friends who have died in the war and you will meet women whose husbands are deployed and they are home by themselves just trying stay busy and make it through the next year until he gets home. Only then will the respect and admiration for the people whose loves are risking their lives for our country and your sorrow for the people who lost their husbands, wives, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters…only then will that set in.
In ten years, there will be a thousand cinderblocks on your chest today as you think of the immense pain caused by September 11, 2001. It will hurt you deeper than you expect. Ten years ago you would have never guessed that the events of that day would have any effect on you. But don’t be afraid because you have hope. You have hope in a God that can restore brokeness. You have a King that will make all things new.
It will be ok,
September 11 will not define us as a country. It may infiltrate many of our lives but it will not define us. We have a God who is bigger than the events of that day and the after effects of it and we have a country that we should have much confidence in. 9/11 will be remembered as a day of great loss but also as a day that the United States came together in hope and love. We are forever changed. Thank you to all of America’s heroes.