Friday, September 9, 2011

never forget

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.

Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

George Bush, September 11, 2001

As I have watched the 9/11 footage over the past few days, I remembered just how devastating those images were. Remembered the staggering number of people killed or hurt in the attacks. And remembered the feeling of solidarity that the nation had in the days following 9/11.

I was a junior at Clemson ten years ago today. I watched the footage of the first tower being hit in my Lightsey Bridge apartment with my roommate Susan and couldn't understand how a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I had been to the WTC just a few months earlier during my first trip to New York City and knew how densely populated the financial district was. But I thought it was a terrible accident and didn't realize that we were under attack until the second plane hit.

I went to my 9:10 class in Sikes Hall, where footage played on all the mounted TVs in the building. My professor spoke for a few minutes then dismissed class, and classes were canceled for the rest of the day. I remember walking across the library bridge with my dear friend Hannah and finally getting ahold of mom. We both cried as I assured her I was fine. Hannah and I went up to our sorority hall and continued to watch the sad, sad images from New York and later DC and Pennsylvania.

I was fairly involved in campus life at that point and had several extracurricular meetings scheduled for that Tuesday evening, and every one of them was canceled, except for a Rho Lambda meeting. We ate Zaxby's, put together new members ribbons and tried to figure out just what we could do to help from Clemson, SC.

I vaguely remember campus blood drives and a prayer vigil at my church then, DCF, but I remember more clearly the candlelight vigil we held on Bowman Field one year after the attack, in the shadow of Military Plaza. By that point, we were deeply entrenched in war, and it was especially poignant with the statues of cadets close-by.

It's odd to be in DC ten years later, with the threat of more attacks. I have never seen security tighter around the Capitol and in transit stations, and Richard and I are staying away from downtown today.

The only thing that gave me comfort that day and still gives me comfort today is knowing that God is in control. In the midst of the world's worst trouble, He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Today I praying for comfort in that promise, for the victims and their families, for men and women in the armed services today who are away from their homes fighting the war on terror and serving domestically, and praying that we never again face an attack like that again.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

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