It seemed to be a quiet, sunny day in the dwindling hours of summer. People going about their business. Children rushed off to school. Flights of pleasure, business and fancy were seemingly soaring the skies peacefully.
Tranquility and a sense of safety were shattered in an instant as a commercial jetliner plowed into the World Trade Center (WTC). What first seemed to be nothing more than a tragic accident was quickly revealed to be more diabolic in nature.
The world watched horror-struck as a second jetliner in live airtime was shown deliberately crashing into the second tower of the WTC.
The unthinkable, that which seemed to only be comprehensible in a movie script, lifted from the page of fiction into the horrifying fact of reality. Life changed forever.
I rolled over. Opened my eyes. With blurred vision, I looked at the clock. 10:48 a.m. I sprang out of bed, shaking my head, wondering why I had slept so late.
I grabbed my robe, moving between my loveseats to turn on the television. I made my way back around what I called, my loveseat, to make my morning coffee.
Strangely I heard the voices of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. In disbelief, disconcerted and shocked, I listened and learned about the attack on America.
Nearly spilling the water, I finished making my coffee. I stumbled back to my loveseat to watch and listen to the unfolding events.
I yelled at the troubled young man sleeping on my other loveseat, “Wake up! We’ve been attacked!“
Frightened, not knowing what to do, how to react, what to say, the young man took off on his bike. Running, trying to find comfort, peace and some sense of what was happening.
I stayed glued to the TV.
Not only had two commercial planes been used as guided missiles exploding into the WTC, but another had been fatally directed at the Pentagon.
But, this was not the end.
The news revealed a fourth jetliner, its objective still unknown, was deflected from further mass destruction by the heroics of passengers. Passengers, who followed the highest law of Love.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)
The unthinkable had become a deliberate, thought-out scheme of murder, destruction, mayhem, pain and suffering.
What had happened to America’s tranquility and safety?
Gone in moments.
What were and are we to do?
What could and can our leaders do?
What was and is America to do?
Life changed forever.
From the Cornfield, we pause, as we do each year, and remember the lives lost, the heroes, the resolve of a nation to not back down, to rise from the ashes and press on for a better day filled with peace, liberty and justice for all.
We will never forget.
We will never crumble.
We will stand tall.
We will cross any valley, climb any mountain, ford any stream and remain forever that shining city on a hill to which the world looks to find light in the darkness of ignorance, fear, intolerance and injustice.