Every year, when 9/11 arrives yet again, a whirl of emotions fill me and I begin to mentally prepare myself for the countless images of flaming towers and chaos. On September 11, 2001 I was watching the TV dumbfounded as events unfolded just a few miles away. When the last tower dropped, I was suddenly plunged into a world of silence as the TV reception and cell service failed simultaneously. I began the long wait to hear from my husband who was attending class in Brooklyn that morning. The semester had just begun and I wasn’t sure when his classes began… and he frequented the area surrounding the World Trade Center (WTC).
Seeing the photos of the towers burning also brings back the incredible stench them burning for a month and the heavily armored military presence in the city that appeared over night, on every bridge, in every subway station and seemingly on every street corner.
There always in a “but”, isn’t there?
I could have chosen a path of fear or anger, but instead, I choose hope. (It’s often a daily choice.) The profound effect on 9/11 on my life is very hard for me to articulate, almost impossible, but these photos help to show my perspective.
This first one is a scanned snapshot of my husband and oldest son taken by me three years before 9/11. It moves me. This was taken in the plaza of the WTC and you can see one of the towers behind my son. Looking back with the knowledge of what happened, the image evokes in me the resiliency of the human spirit. We are all connected one to another, dependent upon one another. We can lift on another up, or we can let each other down. My view is absolutely informed by my faith. We know this world will have trials and trouble, wars and disasters, this should not surprise us nor even catch us off guard. We should not just be waiting for the proverbial ‘other’ shoe to drop either, for that is a position of resignation.
This image, like the previous one was a very quick shot taken on my last visit to NYC this past April. I had been wandering around the area taking photos of the Freedom Tower from different vantage points as this was my first time seeing it in person. I was looking for a shot that gave it context and place and I found it in this one. I have seen and possess many of my own photos with the sleek and glistening Freedom Tower as the primary subject and surrounded by other sleek buildings. What I like about this photo is that the tower provides a lovely backdrop to something more beautiful – life being lived in its shadow. It now represents a beacon of hope, resilience, and recovery. We will never forget, how could we, possibly?
Many people lost a great deal on 9/11 as they lost their precious loved ones and I would submit that we as a country also lost a great deal as fear and suspicion now seem to rule the public discourse since that time, even among Christians.
One of my very favorite verses that has helped to carry me through many a dark day, including 9/11 is 1Timothy 1:7 :
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Let us walk not in fear, but in love for we know Who holds our future and He can be trusted.
(Here is a link to my personal account of 9/11 written a few years ago.)