It’s easy to do in the day to day rushing around that all of us do. I don’t know about you, but I’m busy driving kids to activities, helping them with homework, writing, cleaning … you know, the usual. But it’s all a juggle.
But I remember the day when things changed. It was a morning like any other, except I had two sick kids. I was waiting for the doctor’s office to open so I could make an appointment. I was fixing breakfast, feeding the animals (the dogs, not the kids). My children were only 3 and almost 2. So they needed a lot of attention. Finally, I was on hold at the doctor’s office. Music was playing in the background, and I was making an omelet for the kids, spatula in hand. I wasn’t really paying attention to the radio announcer talking in my ear. I just wanted the receptionist to get back on the line so I’d know if I needed to jump in the car for our appointment or if it would be later in the day. Finally, I got the appointment and called my husband to tell him our plans. He said, “Did you hear what happened?”
Suddenly, what the radio announcer said clicked into place. “Something about fire at the World Trade Center?” My husband told me they thought a plane had flown into the building. Well, I thought that was horrific. But I only had fifteen minutes to get in the car and head toward the doctor’s office.
After the kids were strapped in their carseats, I headed toward the airport, which was near the doctor’s office. I turned on the radio. As I listened, I heard another plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Now they knew it was a terrorist act. And the Pentagon had been hit. Shocked, I kept driving but looked around at the other cars around me. Drivers had intense faces, as if they too were listening. Then came the announcement that officials were worried more planes had been hijacked. All planes had been recalled. We were driving toward the airport.
I didn’t know anyone who died that day. But my life changed. I remember my husband going to the mailbox and running back inside with our two year old because a plane was flying overhead. For days no planes took flight. It was a surreal time. It was a frightening time. With small children, I had to limit turning on the television or radio, so I only gathered pieces of information. But I grieved with our nation.
One of the most powerful memories to me was seeing a hospital in New York City. Nurses were waiting outside for ambulances to arrive. But no ambulances were arriving with casualties.
We’ve come a long way as a nation since that day. We’ve learned that there are people out there who hate us just because we live, because we believe differently, because we have freedom. For a few days, we pulled together as a nation despite differences. We flocked to churches. We prayed together. We grieved for those who had lost much — a father, mother, daughter, son, brother, sister, friend. May we never forget the impact those planes had on our nation. Please take a moment today to remember and to pray for our nation.