We all remember where we were. I was running the mile from P.E. class my Freshman year in high school. My mother worked at the high school and I saw her as I walked back in to the school from the track. I wasn’t able to talk to her but I saw on her face that something didn’t seem right. By the time I got to the locker room someone had said that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I’m thinking a little Piper Cub. I was wrong.
There weren’t any loiterers in the hall, everyone went straight to the next class, mine was history. We watched the news for the rest of the day. I saw the second tower fall. It was hard for me to grasp what was happening. This was something you see in movies. Buildings don’t fall down like that. The hardest part was watching people jump to their death… suicide. Consider their thought process… “It’s better for me to jump to my death than to be in this burning building.” Consider the hell. Consider the peril. Consider their subliminal existential reflection… “I’m over.”
The next day the whole school gathered in the hallways as we sat and listened to the boys chorus sing “I’m Proud to be an American.” It’s hard not to get emotional about reflecting about that now. I was sitting with my JROTC class at the time. I tried to hide it. I wept in that hallway. I didn’t even know anyone that was directly effected by this, but how can you not weep over such murder, evil, suicide, and devastation on human life?
Last year I delivered a lecture on the problem of evil. I spent the first hour trying to emphasize the importance of this discussion and how God can still be good and loving given such evil and suffering. It was difficult for me to keep my composure giving the example of September 11th. We may have forgotten the direct impact we have had but we cannot forget the value of human life and the evil that seeks perilous ends. Yes, nationalism plays a role in most Americans… It’s the nature of being American. However, the existential value and purpose of human life far exceeds any national empathy. That’s not to note that I don’t want my nation to protect me, I do. There are many evils I cannot protect myself from and I am thankful for that protection.
I stood where the towers once were a few years ago. I saw some of the damage in surrounding buildings and a firehouse where they didn’t want to replace the damaged bricks. It was haunting. Here I am ten years later… Where were you?