September 11, 2011

Ten years ago, on a beautiful Tuesday morning, I was headed to class at Arkansas Tech University. We were living in Clarksville at the time and our morning had followed its typical routine: Jamie arrived home from working 3rd shift around 7:00; the girls (just PJB and Molly at the time) and I left the house shortly after that. I dropped them off at their preschool and then I stopped to fill up with gas and grab a Coke on my way to class. I'd just gotten onto the interstate when the radio station interrupted the song that was playing to announce that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. "Freak accident," popped into my head. That was what that had to be, right? Not right. By the time I arrived on campus and headed to the library, a TV had already been set up in the lobby and a crowd was gathered.

The images were unreal. Before too much longer, we had heard about the other two planes and there was just a sense of disbelief that this was happening. I went to class as usual, then back to Clarksville where I worked part-time at our pediatrician's office. This was before everyone in America had cell phones, so I hadn't talked to my family at all. I didn't call Jamie because I always turned the ringer off so he could sleep uninterrupted during the day. When 3:00 rolled around, I picked up the girls and headed home. Jamie was still sleeping, but I went ahead and woke him up. I won't quote him here, but it only took a second before what I had to say registered with him.

The days following 9/11 were surreal in many ways. The security I'd always had was shaken. America was not immune to terrorist acts and the realization that our safety could not be guaranteed was unsettling. Our television was tuned to the news almost 24/7. It wasn't until 4 year old Parker drew her adaptation of an airplane flying into a building that I decided enough was enough and I reserved my viewing time to after the girls were in bed. With tears streaming down my face every night for several nights, I watched the stories of those who lost loved ones. I will never forget the night Dan Rather appeared on Letterman.

Ten years later, Parker Jane has no memory of those events. Molly, 1 3/4 at the time, has had lots of questions about what happened and why. I've spent much of today watching the memorials this morning and footage from that sunny day. "Why does God allow evil?" was the topic of my pastor's sermon and we took some time to pray for firefighters, law enforcement, emergency responders, and their families as well as our enemies.

I'm thankful that in the past 10 years we've not seen more attacks on our soil. My prayer tonight is that this protection for our nation continues.

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