I realize I am a day late on this, but something about the weather today reminded me. Anyone who is old enough to remember, can recall that beautiful blue sky before it was filled with smoke. The stillness of the air before it echoed with tragedy. Before 8:46am it was a day that felt like today. A day that felt like nothing could go wrong. A day where we all woke up in what we thought was the safest country on earth.
I explained that to our students in youth group yesterday morning, feeling compelled to share a little bit of my perspective on the tragedy as someone their age at the time. I passed around a newspaper I kept from 9/12, which recorded gas as being $1.79 and Americans still viewing the church as a place they could seek refuge in. I contemplated how that has changed and how the world they have always known, one filled with metal detectors and security checkpoints, is not the same one I grew up in. How freedom was traded for security.
I showed them pictures of my visit to the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania. I recalled exiting off of the turnpike and this feeling in my gut knowing that I was going to be stepping on sacred ground. I watched as the mountains and hills ascended and descended along the way. I looked up to the sky and couldn’t help but think about those terrified passengers on the plane.
But we know they weren’t just terrified. They were brave. Indeed, they are without a doubt the bravest men and women in American history. Todd Beamer speaks to their courage with his famous words “Let’s Roll.” We should never forget them and we should never let the next generation forget either. In some way it is our own “tell your children about these stones” story (see Joshua chapter 4).
It’s important to remember what happened, pray for the victim’s families and to pray that those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of their religion would come to find out the true God of love and grace.
It is with a sadness that we tell the story. A sadness of how far our world has fallen from what it was meant to be. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day. Not one of them deserved it- not the civilians, the firefighters and certainly not the brave men and women of Flight 93. We can never let their names fade from our culture or become figures of the past.
We must never forget.