Eleven years ago today everyone who is of a certain age could tell you exactly where they were and what they were feeling. September 11 will always be remembered, like the attack on Pearl Harbor, as a day when America was caught off guard by tragedy.
I was in 8th grade. I had never heard of the Twin Towers before that day. It was also picture day at school. I went to the office to call my mom and heard the secretaries talking about what had happened. I was confused. When the students were told about what had happened, there were mixed feelings. Though many of us didn't know what the Towers were, somehow we knew that this meant something big for our country. We listened to radio coverage of the aftermath. Listened as people escaped the buildings. I remember women screaming, babies crying, and a sound of mass chaos. One of my friends started crying. Her older brother had just enlisted in the Marine Corp. Though she knew he would be safe for now while he went through basic training, she also knew that eventually he would undoubtedly be sent to war.
I never thought that I would meet anyone who was in the building when it happened. I like in Michigan and had no ties to New York to speak of.
When our young adult group took a mission trip to the Bowery Mission in New York I was looking forward to visiting Ground Zero. It was still under construction when I was there, but through the fence you could see progress. I also remember a church that sits just across the road from the site that had been there for many many years. The church had sat untouched by the tragedy. Through the explosions and collapse of the buildings the church remained unharmed. It was amazing to see.
When we got back to the mission that evening, my friend and I were talking about our visit to the site with some of the men working with us in the kitchen. I will never forget, one man had a strange look on his face as we talked about the visit. Later, he came up to me and said "I was in one of the buildings that day." He had been in the basement of one of the towers when the first plane hit. He told me how he had run out of the building as fast as possible, but ran back in the help other people get out safely. I stood there in awe of his courage.
That trip changed my life in so many ways. My opinions toward those living on the street changed forever. And that is when my heart broke for those who have experienced terrible things and press on.
Please pray for the men and women who will be served by the Bowery Mission in New York City today. And also that God continues to provide so they can continue to serve the community 3 square meals a day.