Some days are routine. Other days are unforgettable. September 11, 2001 started out as any other normal day, and yet, it became a defining moment for us all.
Most of us remember exactly where we were when he heard the news about the terrorist attack on 9/11. We remember with vivid detail the news unfolding that there was one, then two, airplanes hitting the World Trade Center in New York City. Then an airplane purposely aimed into the Pentagon, and more lives were lost in a field in Pennsylvania from an airplane that terrorists had plotted to target the White House.
News images of the towers falling, bystanders running, the ash cloud billowing into the clear morning air-those images became a part of us.
But what made the events of 9/11 personal to me were the two colleagues who were directly impacted by the terrorist attacks. Jim's son had just graduated from college that summer and had landed a plum job with a finance firm in New York. His office was in one of the World Trade Centers. Dorothy's son-in-law was assigned to the Pentagon. The only greater terror than what we were watching on TV was the terror I saw in the faces of Jim and Dorothy. I felt helpless in trying to minister to them. Dorothy received a phone call in the early afternoon that her son-in-law was safe. Jim did not hear until the end of the day that his son was unharmed - he was not in his office when the attack occurred.
I learned that day that the attack on some of us, as Americans, was an attack on all of us. And it is a day we should remember.
Many have been planning special 9/11 commemoration events that begin tonight with a faculty forum. Chapel Friday and then next Monday will be special events. I encourage you to attend but even more importantly I encourage you to help our students understand the significance of the day and the war on terrorism that has followed.
The official 9/11 ceremony in New York City this weekend will include no prayer nor any "religious leaders." That makes our 9/11 events at LETU even more important. It will be our opportunity to seek God in this tragedy.