On this 17th Anniversary of 9/11, I went back and watched again the news coverage from the morning of the terrorist attacks. It is still somewhat surreal to see the planes fly into the Twin Towers and to watch the buildings collapse and not be there anymore. Sadness comes to my heart when I think about all the people who lost their lives on that day—a day in which people woke up like any other day, never expecting anything like that to happen.
I think of the first responders who were so brave to head straight into impending danger. I think about the sense of fear and helplessness those on the planes and in the buildings must have felt. I think of the people killed and injured at the Pentagon and the heroism of those on United Flight 93. I think of those who called loved ones from the plane to say “I love you” one last time.
That day America realized it was vulnerable, just as it had 60 years earlier when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We all felt a little less safe after 9/11. It did something to our national psyche. No longer was security of the homeland guaranteed.
But I also think about the incredible unity and brotherhood that took place in the weeks after 9/11. The cathartic power of sports was on clear display when New York Mets player Mike Piazza hit a home run in the first MLB game after the attacks. I remember when members of Congress gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and locked arms and sang “God Bless America.” Those kinds of things brought the country together and gave people hope. I remember how people turned back to God and began to think about the brevity of life and their own mortality. It seemed like revival might break out, but sadly it didn’t last.
It may sound cliché, but as we think back on the events of that day, I hope that we can be spurred to be a little kinder to each other; to seek unity and brotherhood; to love instead of hate; to cherish our families and friends; and to seek God and repent of our wicked ways. Events like 9/11 remind us that life is fragile. Let us come together as one nation under God, pray for revival, and once again love one another. And instead of saying, “God bless America,” which He so clearly has in so many ways, let us pray that America would bless God through repentance and faith, thanksgiving, and loving one another.