I can remember my parents and grandparents telling me they could remember in detail the exact moment they heard that Kennedy was shot. Each felt almost bound in duty to honor that moment, and to keep it tucked away in their minds, to tell to future generations.
This morning, as I began a new journal, I wrote the date at the top right hand corner, and then froze for a moment. I tried to remember which year it was that “September 11th” took on a special meaning. When it joined the ranks of other dates, like “the 4th of July,” and “D-Day.” Oh yes, it was 2001. It’s been nine years.
We had just returned from a great family vacation to Washington D.C. and the Shenandoah Vally, where we had explored museums, caverns, and Civil War sites. It was the second day of school for us. Jordan was in ninth grade, and we had grand plans of studying the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Kate was in 7th grade, and had asked to devote that year to studying Laura Ingalls and the Westward Movement. I was making plans for an Ancient Art class of an ever increasing class homeschooled teens, most of whom I did not know.
It was a beautiful morning. One of those September days that make you just be glad to be alive. We had gotten our day started, and the girls were beginning their math lessons, which would give me just enough time to head across the field to have a cup of coffee with Nana Anne and my Mom. We ladies were enjoying the time together, when the phone rang. An uncle called to tell us to turn on the TV because something was happening. Nana’s tiny little black & white TV was in the back shed. So we quickly dug it out, plugged it in, and arranged the antennae just in time to watch another plane crash into the World Trade Center. And then the Pentagon. And then somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Sitting there in disbelief, I commented that I was glad the girls were safe at home and knew nothing about this. Then the phone rang, and they were calling because they were scared… our home phone had started ringing of the hook with news of the attacks. So we all headed over to Mom & Dad’s, where there was cable TV, so we could see what was going on. The rest of our perfect day of school was spent watching re-plays of the explosions, the reactions of bystanders, and stories of heroism.
I can remember not trusting beautiful days for a while.
I can remember a girl buying red, white, and blue candles in the store, and after me tallying them up, hearing her say that they were for a memorial service for a friend that was killed in the Trade Center… and us telling her to just take them. No charge.
I can remember standing on the porch of Shirley Plantation a month later, when we girls finally felt safe enough to take a short trip with Mom. We were in a tour group of about 30 people, and an airplane flew over. Every single person caught their breath and watched it fly over in total silence. We hadn’t heard airplanes for quite a while.
And I can remember wanting to protect my girls from everything evil in this world.
Which is impossible.
Since then, I’ve learned that even though I can’t protect them from every bump in life, God can. And that He knows everything that will touch their lives… and mine… and that in His plan for our lives, there is a reason for everything. And that it will all work together for good, according to His purpose.
See that none render evil for evil unto any man;
but ever follow that which is good,
both among yourselves, and to all men.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
I Thessalonians 5:15-18