Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Were You on 9/11?

Each year as 9/11 approaches we relive that day in 2001. "Where were you when you heard that America was under attack?" is the common question. 

A day in August a few weeks before September 11, 2001 is more vivid in my mind each year. My father celebrated his 68th birthday and I hosted the party. I decided to have all of the grandkids play a game called How Well Do You Know Grampa?  Even those across the country played by email.

We all had the opportunity to answer a quiz about Grampa's life. We did not get many things right but we learned a lot of fascinating Grampa trivia that day. 

He travelled the world in his engineering job and we learned that he had been to over 30 countries. Delivering papers earned him his first paycheck. He remembers horse drawn carts delivering ice blocks to his back porch icebox

Most telling was his memory of the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Only eight at the time, his memories were sweet and sad.  

That day two of his older sisters' celebrated a shared birthday. With four teenage girls in his home, he was the only boy. After cake, candles and singing the girls all left to go to the picture show downtown with friends. 

My father stayed home with his parents while they listened to the radio. They heard President Franklin D. Roosevelt make his famous radio announcement of the Japanese Imperial Army attack on Pearl Harbor.  

My father remembered his mother's tears - something he had never seen before. He didn't fully understand what it all meant because Hawaii was so far away. But, he knew it must be terrible. He wondered if he should be crying, too. 

His father walked to town to retrieve his sisters because everyone belonged together at home on this day. Then, his dad went to work at his newspaper circulation desk. There would be an extra edition out that night. 

As I sat watching the events of that tragic 9/11 almost sixty years later, I remembered my father's story. We had marveled and rejoiced  that America remained safe and peaceful for all of those long years--until now. 

My children aged 16, 14, 8 and 5 saw me cry as I could not pull myself away from the television all day. We watched in real time as plane after plane crashed into buildings killing so many innocent people. We did not know what would happen or where they might attack next. 

We lost more than lives that day. We lost our sense of peace and security and even some of our innocence about life. America lost its trust of other nations, religions and people groups and we still struggle to know who our friends are. 

Our children can no longer say that they live in a nation that has not been attacked on its own soil in their lifetime. They too lost some of their innocence about life. 

Whatever your memories of 9/11/01, you were changed. We lost much. I'm still evaluating what I learned and possibly gained. Perhaps, it is that I value time spent with those I love, more. I appreciate the sacrifices of firemen, policemen and servicemen more. 

Every year I pause and remember and re-process the events. Ground Zero is still empty as no one knows exactly what to build to properly memorialize it. Americans, too, are still mixed and undecided as they consider the whole experience. There are still lessons to learn--the story isn't finished.

Be sure and check in at Spiritual Sundays for more spiritual insight. 


  1. Like you, I grieve the lost innocence. Nothing will ever be the same.

  2. I live in a military town and was a teacher at the time. I remember having an emergency meeting before school, and being told that the events were touching our kids in a special way... their parents would most likely be going to war. We discussed how we would help them cope. School was not cancelled as authorities believed they needed some sense of normalcy. But the day was far from normal.

  3. This is a beautiful thought provoking post...Belssings..

  4. awesome post! thanks for writing it... we did lose something huge that day, the last illusions of safety maybe? thanks for stopping by. =)

  5. I remember my mom telling about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When 9/11 came, I heard someone say, "this is our Pearl Harbor." I don't think any of us will forget that day. Truly it was innocence lost.

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart and your memories. Today has brought back a lot of memories for so many people.

  7. I remember the fear that attacked me for my family and fellow Americans. I was comforted in the Word and also it helped having a president that was confident and assuring.

  8. it was a terrible thing that did take away our sense of safety. It showed that anything could happen at any given moment.Makes me know even more how the safest place is in Him...

  9. What a great idea you had for your fathers party. Our hearts are sadden this weekend, with many prayers. Thank-you for your post today.
    God Bless,

  10. It was more than a tragedy wasn't it? I can't imagine what those who remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor felt as they heard the words of the planes flying into the trade center. This will fade from the minds and hearts of those who did not live through it or who were not touched by it. But for those of us who were riveted by the news, we will never forget. God bless. -Dr. Bobbi


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