Hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since the tragic terror attack on the U.S. “9-11” as it has commonly referred to was one of those events in U.S./world history that very suddenly brought about change. Gone are those post world war days when we believed our nation was invincible. A whole new era of vigilance and vulnerability was born. We have been forced into a new type of war against an enemy that we were sure would NEVER have the gall to strike Americans on American soil. But they did.
And so we began fighting a war on terrorism. That was 18 years ago. We are now teaching 9-11 to a generation of kids who were not even alive at the time. Those of us who were remember where we were on that day (as Alan Jackson so eloquently put it) “when the world stopped turning.” We still mourn the estimated 2,977 people who died in that horrific attack. We also found a healthy new respect for first responders as a result of 9-11. For a time following 9-11 churches in America were experiencing a sudden boost in attendance as folks turned to God and the church for ways to make sense of it all/
The persons responsible for planning and carrying out this attack on the United States of America had a very different and extremely militant ideology than ours. But their plan to bring this country to its knees backfired on them. Instead, they discovered that they had awakened a “sleeping giant!” Historically, that’s what we do. Our nation possesses an unusual resolve in the face of national tragedy. And our military force is second to none.
On and ever since 9-11 we have countless stories of heroes. Among the bravest of them being the first responders who risked life and limb-many giving their lives- to help in rescue and recovery. And, certainly, our military personnel who, in an instant were called to arms all over the globe, but especially here at home. I am quite sure there are thousands of civilians who are heroes too.
So here we are-18 years later reflecting on the atrocious events of September 11, 2001.
It is really more observance than celebration. And while our nation is still in need of heroes, I believe that we are more in need of a Savior. His name is Jesus.
Does knowing Jesus prevent violence and disaster? Not necessarily. I’m sure there were a lot of Christ-followers who lost their lives in 9-11. But I still believe that Jesus is the only One who can take a heart full of hate or indifference and turn it into one of love and goodwill. Maybe this is the motive behind Jesus’ statement to “love your enemies.”