Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001

I walked into the student center at Agnes Scott College just before my 9 am World History class and caught a glimpse of the big screen tv on my way to grab some breakfast from Molly's Grille. Yet another story of bad news, a tall building with smoke billowing from the top. I didn't even pause to find out where or what, just assumed there was another building on fire some place, big deal (let's me know we've all heard too much bad news when more bad news doesn't affect us much).

I got to class and, still not understanding what was going on, was confused by low murmurs of general unrest as some of my classmates and my professor said something about a building being damaged and wanting to find a tv. We gathered our books and trooped to the library to find a tv. Finally, while my classmates and I watched the story unfold, it dawned on me why this particular disaster was something that I should care about: airplanes, hijackers, buildings, innocent people, my country.

Class was dismissed and while many of my classmates sought out their friends, I headed straight to my room to be alone. I still didn't have a strong handle on what was going on. I called my dad and sat in the tv room of my dorm watching the news with him. I had just missed the second plane's crashing into the World Trade Center and can't imagine what it was like for those who watched it happen live.

Our school community was diverse with students from various racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. I feel blessed to have had muslim classmates to talk to at the time. They were just as shellshocked as the rest of us, but they also had to be afraid for themselves as our country's more ignorant citizens lashed out at anyone perceived as the enemy.

Air traffic was shut down across the country that night and several of us went to the soccer field to lay on our blankets and look up into the Atlanta night sky where not one airplane could be seen. It was surreal...not one airplane anywhere. That doesn't happen at any hour of the day or night in Atlanta.

I never want to forget the men and women who either risked or lost their lives in an effort to save others in the World Trade Center, in a plane over Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon. Or the way our country pulled together in so many ways in the days that followed.

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.