Today I add a bonus page to my 2016 page-and-photo-a-day adventure as I remember the World Trade Center and the events that took place on 9/11/01. The photo was taken by my friend, Scott, when we visited New York City and the top of the World Trade Center in either the fall of 2000 or the spring of 2001 — I’ve forgotten which. As I consider the enormity of the towers and the events of 9/11/01, I share today memories of both the day I stood atop one of the towers of the World Trade Center and the day they were brought down.
My memories of the first day is of how impressive the towers were and how much their presence loomed over the entire area. We had taken the subway from Brooklyn into central New York City to visit Central Park. As we finished up at Central Park, the towers were so visible that we decided it would be an easy walk from Central Park to the World Trade Center — boy were we wrong! We kept walking and walking and for the longest time didn’t seem to be getting any closer. When we finally got there, we joked that since we had walked so far already why don’t we just take the stairs to the top. 🙂 Instead, we took the elevator tour and enjoyed the view . . . and the rest. Having been in the towers, and on top of the one, led to an even greater shock at the images of 9/11/01 of the towers being hit and coming down.
My most vivid memory of 9/11/01, beyond the actual destruction and collapse, is of our nation’s leaders standing on the steps of the Capitol Building singing “God Bless America”. For many, it was a sign of hope and unity in the midst of a very dark day. But also like many Americans, I was skeptical that a momentary turning to God in a time of great need would translate into a lasting change in the way business is done in our nation’s capitol. The 15 years since that day would tend to say that we’re much like the Israelites of the Old Testament who would cry out to God in their time of need and after God would show mercy and rescue them, it would just be a matter of time before they abandoned their relationship with God only to find themselves in need once again. But before we point fingers too far, it wasn’t only our nation’s leaders that had a short-lived resurgence in a felt need to call out to God for His blessing. And how often since have we called out to God in our times of need only to ignore Him once He has carried us through? How often do we find ourselves in trouble, even trouble of our own making, and and call out to God for help while making no effort to change our ways? We plot and we scheme and we come up with out best laid plans only to run into great difficulty accomplishing what we want. So, we turn to God and ask for His help. Yet when He says, “Follow Me, I have a better plan”, we say, “No thanks. I have too much invested in my own plan.”
I pray that as we remember the events of 9/11/01, that we not only remember the lives lost and the heroes who served, but that we would also remember a God who desires and deserves to be our God not only in the times of our greatest need but in all of our times.