9/11, Another Boring History Lesson?

The 15th year anniversary of 9/11 is on Sunday. We'll be remembering the day America was attacked by the Islamic terrorist group, Al Qaeda, through the hijacking of our planes and running them into our iconic buildings. My husband and I recently visited the site where the two World Trade Center buildings once stood, now memorialized by large waterfalls with the names of the victims engraved around the edges, a towering building called "One World Trade Center," and a sobering museum underground. 

Where were you when 9/11 happened? Ironically, I was in history class my sophomore year of high school. My teacher wheeled in the box tv, and we forewent class for that day and watched as yet another plane hit the second World Trade Center tower, erasing any doubts of it being an accident. For the following hours we heard more reports of other planes, one hitting the Pentagon, and another being crashed into a field by the brave passengers attempting to avoid bigger destruction and more lives being taken. I knew our nation felt scared, yet still undeniably closer and united than I had ever seen it in my lifetime.

There are adults alive today that don't remember it, because they were too young. It astounds me, but isn't that how history works? How many of us don't give past wars a second thought, but living in those times must have been an experience to shape their lives, leaving a very large scar. 

I didn't realize at the time how steady, caring, and like a mad guard dog our then-president, George W. Bush, was. Being at the museum, and watching video clips made me see him as a leader we could all lean on and look to, while looking to God. Addressing the heart broken people in New York City, he movingly said, "I hear you, and the rest of the world can hear you. And the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon." He didn't hesitate, and we did go after Al Qaeda, beginning the "War on Terror." We went after the Taliban, who was harboring Al Qaeda, and almost a decade later, we found and killed their leader, Osama bin Laden.

2, 997 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. 6,000 were injured. It's all just numbers until you see them as people, and think about how they had expected to be going home to families at 5 pm that night. Until you hear the voicemails of those in the second tower to their families, not understanding they were about to be hit as well. Until you see a lady modestly holding down her skirt before jumping from one of the top floors of the burning tower. Until you see the thousands of "missing" flyers that were put out for months afterwards, of loved ones searching and hoping someone had seen their husband, father, child. It's all just numbers that we find in a history book, until we realize they were people like us, with families like us. 

Sometimes it's good to get a reminder of tragedy and to remember the destruction to come for all that don't glorify God. The masses are filled with hurting individuals, and we were all united on that day, September 11, 2001, when our nation was attacked. But the reality is that most people won't be ready to avoid hell when the time comes. While we can't keep terrorists from attacking, we can show people how horrible their sin is. We can point them to the Savior before the ultimate sure destruction happens in their lives. Unfortunately, history books take our heart breaking realities and make them seem boring and unreal far too quickly. Don't get bored when you hear of tragedy. Let it remind you of where the people in this world without Christ are headed, and fuel your prayer life and vigor to see people come to God and glorify His name as they ought, before it's too late.


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