… I got up, ate breakfast with Angi, watched her take the kids on to school, sat down in front of the television and turned it on.
I didn’t usually do that, because I was still working as the Web Content Manager for the site of the Abilene Reporter-News though we had moved to Little Rock just three months before, and I had worked until about 1:30 a.m. putting the news from that day’s edition on the site from my home office.
I turned the TV on just in time to see Katie Couric get an odd look on her face and say something to the effect that there was a report of a jetliner crashing into a building in New York. Within a few seconds, there was a camera shot of smoke pouring from the side of one of the World Trade Center building.
After shaking the sleepy, shocked stupor from my head, I went to my computer and started setting up a special news page that would refresh every few minutes with the latest information, and started typing it in and uploading it as quickly as I heard it from the television in the other room.
It was behind me, and turned so that I couldn’t see it. So I was spared seeing much of what America saw happening live.
After a while, I went back to the living room and plugged in a six-hour videotape to record the disaster.
I still haven’t been able to watch it.
September 11, 2001 has left an indelible scar on everyone in the civilized world who has heard or seen what happened and is old enough to understand.
For those who lost dear ones that day, or have lost loved ones in the conflicts since then, the scar is much deeper.
The date 9-11 has become an emergency call to all of us to wake up to the danger of listening and unquestioningly obeying men who claim to speak for God, but speak words of hatred and urge actions of destruction.
The site of the WTC stands as an empty symbol of something which should be there, but is no more; an anti-landmark in tribute to the futility of prejudice against other faiths – or lack of faiths – and to the outpouring of common love and courage in the aftermath that speaks well of the human heart which remains unmoved by such prejudice.
A crater in Pennsylvania gives testimony to the power of ordinary people who would not surrender to evil, even at peril to their own lives.
And a rebuilt, identical section of obliterated Pentagon silently declares that life must go on and threats must be countered and freedom to choose wisely must always be defended.
Six years ago today, by late afternoon, I finished posting the horrific news and – emotionally spent; physically exhausted – let the next shift take over.
My day closed with a hastily-assembled prayer meeting with my church family.
We prayed for the victims. We prayed for the missing. We prayed for their families. We prayed for the rescuers. We prayed for the nation.
And in one particularly difficult and memorable prayer, we prayed for our enemies.
Then I went home, put my kids to bed and finally wept the tears I had no time for that day.