For those of us who are less than 70 years old New York City on September 11, 2001 is our Pearl Harbor, Hawaii December 7, 1941. It is a moment in time that shaped our thinking, rent our hearts, and reminded us all of what was really important.
I was a graduate student at the University of Florida. I was supposed to make the rounds that morning in Shands hospital. I woke up sick and with a fever so I called in and took the day off. In the checkout line at Wal-Mart buying some Vitamin C and some Sprite I heard the cashiers talk about a plane that had hit a tower. I couldn’t quite put all the pieces together. I imagined a Sesna had hit some radio tower and maybe 4 or 5 people had died in the accident.
When I got in my car and turned on the radio I couldn’t believe what I heard. I got home before the second plane hit. It was still a question if it was an accident or not. Then right in front of my eyes with cameras rolling the second plane struck. It was clear this was no accident. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes I sat on the floor of my apartment with the TV on CNN or maybe Fox News when the first tower collapsed. Unbelievable. I was aghast. I figured there could have been thousands of people in that tower and what happens to the people below when 100 stories of concrete and steel comes crashing to the ground? I readied myself for a toll in the tens of thousands. News came of Shanksville and the Pentagon. Footage came on the screen of people fleeing Washington.
It was a moment that shaped our thinking and softened our hearts toward each other. It was a moment that reminded us of what is most important – God and others. It was from that event that I decided I had enough of chasing my own career and money and all the rest. I decided to get my priorities in line. The next semester I withdrew from the doctoral program in clinical and health psychology and enrolled the following fall at the Harding University Graduate School of Religion. God has used that moment for so much good ever since. Of all the bad things that happened that day, I am sure we can all think of just as many or more good things as well. Thank you 9/11 for reminding us all of what is most important.
What good can you recall came from September 11?