6 years ago today, Shari & I woke up to the phone ringing... a friend called to tell us that planes had slammed into the World Trade Center.
Honestly, my response was to dismiss this as rumor & hype - but we went downstairs & turned the TV on... just a few minutes after the 2nd plane hit the WTC. For the next 16-18 hours, we left the TV on, keeping Braeden (who was just a few months old) in another room so we wouldn't feed those images of horror to him.
Today, I read a blog post from a reporter (which I found, thanks to GetReligion) that captures so much of what that day felt like:
I went on, stopping along the way to get quotes. Then I reached the last pillar of the bridge before descending into Manhattan. There I ran into Jessie Graham, my NYPost colleague. She was out riding her bike, as she didn’t come to work till later. We talked for a short while, and stared gape-mouthed at the smoking towers. Finally I said to her, “Come on, let’s get down there.”A prayer for today:
No, she said. “Those things are going to come down.”
I looked at her like she was crazy. “They’re not going to fall down,” I said. “They’re the Twin Towers.”
Then, seconds later, the crown of the south tower did a little twist, and there was that horrible, horrible roar, which I can hear inside my head as I type this, as the south tower collapsed. You can see on the image below the precise moment this happened, because I had my pen to my paper. At the top of the page were quotes from bystanders gathered just before the tower went down (“This is Tom Clancy. This is unbelievable.” “Plain and simple and act of war.” “This isn’t a pizzeria w/10 employees.”) But look under the line I drew — you’ll see a shaky line falling away toward the bottom of the page. That’s where my pen was on the paper as my knees went weak and I literally began to fall down. I reached out and grabbed Jessie to keep from going down.
Then I wrote, in a crazy scrawl:
explosion, fell to ground people on bridge sobbing,
It’s not there anymore!
Jesus, it still brings tears to my eyes to think about the suffering & horror of that day... watching bodies fall, then the towers themselves. Waiting & hoping for people to be found alive - and so few stories like that. God, I know You were there and that You are here - but that's more intellectual than emotional.
And yet, as I look back, I see Your reflection in people who gave their lives, their bodies, their time & their energy to rescue, to search, to comfort & to support. I am amazed that the casualty counts were wrong by so much - that so many people didn't end up in the smoking piles of rubble. Help me never forget so short life can be... and how good You are, even in the midst of tragedy.
in Your Holy name, Amen