Where were you when you heard the news ten years ago today? And what do you remember about that day?
I was in my basement office at home, preparing for the staff meeting that would start at church at 9 AM. Around 8:30 AM Marlene called to say, “Turn on the TV. A plane has hit the World Trade Center.” I remember watching in total disbelief, flipping from one channel to another as the news reporters struggled to make sense of the story. First one tower, then another, then the Pentagon, then the unthinkable happened. The Twin Towers collapsed. At some point the day became a blur. Mostly I remember the emotions–fear, anger, confusion. Who did this? How? Why?
Rumors flew of planes being grounded. We all began calling our loved ones to make sure they were safe. Phone lines were jammed. It was hard to get through to Mark who was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Josh called from Wheaton. We waited anxiously for Nick to come home from school. Time slowed to a crawl. No one knew what to do–or what we should do. Eventually we decided to have a prayer meeting at church that night. All afternoon we prepared the service amidst an unending stream of phone calls, all the while watching the TV for the unfolding news from New York and Washington, and finally, from a field in Pennsylvania.
Hundreds of people came to the prayer meeting. Not just church people but folks who had no connection to any church came that night. Passersby walked in off the street, dazed and distraught. We prayed and wept and cried out to the Lord for his help. We sang the great hymns and we sang the National Hymn, God of Our Fathers. After it was over, we stayed and talked and hugged each other and wondered what would happen next.
Where were you when you heard the news? What do you remember about that day?