The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, as well as, the brave actions of the passengers of Flight 93 happened 20 years ago today. I still remember it vividly.
I was the Dean of Students at South Haven Christian School near Portage, IN. I had only been working there for three weeks. We were into our first period class, I was teaching a high school guys’ Bible class when a co-worker came into the classroom to tell me what had happened. We were confused to be sure.
When we learned that the second tower was hit and then the Pentagon was also hit we were pretty sure that we had been attacked. We called all of the students together to pray. We heard at that time there was another plane still in the air that had likely been hijacked. We prayed for our nation, for the families of those who perished, for those who had been injured. We prayed for the first responders. We prayed for God to protect those still in harm’s way. We prayed for that plane still in the air which we later learned was Flight 93 which crashed as the passengers tried to take back control of the plane from the terrorists.
Many students cried, many were shell shocked, and all of us horrified at such a disregard for human life. Following it though I remember the pride I felt in my country through the sacrifice of the first responders, and how average citizens risked their lives to help others in need. I remember the generosity that was poured out in resources and time. I also remember the collective grief that was felt throughout the nation and much of the world. I also remember how we came together in that grief with resolve to overcome this dark moment in our history.
Let’s never forget. Never forget the sacrifice. Never forget the struggle that continues. Never forget the troops who have given much including their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, let’s not forget it is ultimately God who has kept us safe. He is our Protector and Shield. He is our Refuge and Fortress as the Psalmist writes:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation,” (Psalm 91:1-16, ESV).