Ten years ago today I walked back into our 8th grade classroom and noticed the TV was on. It wasn't unusual for Mrs. H to have it turned on but the fact that she hadn't greeted us or given us any instructions seemed odd. Eventually I began to take in the scene of the Twin Towers and the chaos that surrounded.
I honestly did not understand the seriousness of the matter. They kept referring to the World Trade Center, but I had never known the Twin Towers by that name. And, the only reason I would remember the Twin Towers was because of a Nickelodeon movie about their mascot Stick Stickly and his twin brother who had met each other there.
It wasn't until later that day that I realized how serious the matter was. I believe I was returning from my band lesson and as I walked back into the front doors of the school, I remembered the principal locking the front doors. She was speaking to another teacher saying something like, "If something happens here, I don't want them to wonder why we had not locked the doors. It was that moment when I think I began to understand that this wasn't just some far off threat, it could happen in our home too.
Another moment of understanding came at some point that day when a student wanted to call his Dad, an airline pilot, to make sure he was alright.
I remember talking to my brother that night (who was away at college). I asked him "how he was" or something of that nature and he replied, "Well, the World Trade Center fell over."
These are my strongest memories from that day. Of course more information was released in the following days, months, and years. It wasn't until later that I fully grasped how many lives were lost or were changed that day.
I still pray for the victims of 9/11 and for their families. I pray for those that did this and for those that applaud their efforts. Prayer can do amazing things, maybe even change enemies into friends. We need to look at that Mass readings from this week and learn to forgive. I know I would probably have a more difficult time if I was closer to the tragedy, but that does not devalue the message of Jesus Christ.
Pope Benedict 16th:
"The tragedy of that day is compounded by the perpetrators' claim to be acting in God's name," Pope Benedict said. "Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism."
"Every human life is precious in God's sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere."