September 11, 2001 is a day the world should never forget.
It was a crisp morning with birds singing; Summer had just ended and Fall was making an appearance. There were no clouds in the bright blue sky. The hustle and bustle of New York traffic fought to drown out the beautiful song of the birds in Central Park. The scent of fresh coffee floated on the air.
Mothers walked; some holding hands with their children while other pushed along strollers containing their bundles of joy. Old men sat in cafes sipping contentedly on their cups o’ joe and recalling ‘the good ole days.’ Men walked, ran, drove…everywhere with their mobile phones tucked neatly away in their pockets and bluetooth pieces in their eager ears. Passers-by couldn’t be sure if they were on the phone or talking to themselves. Little blue-haired ladies chattered away while they waited on their turns at the salon; the smell of nail polish remover filled their nostrils and made them giddy with delight.
The clock ticked; it was forty minutes after eight in the morning, and the world moved on. Twenty minutes later, and the history of the Earth was forever altered.
Planes hit and buildings began to crumble. Embers and ashes rained down on New York and coated everything in a thick white layer that resembled snow. Phone lines were jammed with calls from wives, husbands, mothers, sons and friends. Our brave men and women fought to save as many lives as possible. Some of their faces would never been seen again; voices never to be heard again. They gave up their lives in a heroic attempt to save their countrymen. Selfless.
A woman trapped in the stairwell used her mobile phone and by a miracle, she heard her son’s voice on the other end of the line. “Mom, where are you? I saw on the …” She cut him off, “son, I’m trying to make it out but I don’t think I can. I love you. No matter what, believe that I love you. Remember me. When you’re old and gray; when you have children of your own. Remember me! Hug your father, sister and grandma. Please tell them that I’m thinking about all of you and that I’m fighting to make it home to you. I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m blessed to be your mother. Obey your father. Do what’s right in the sight of God. I love you, I love you, I love…” The line went dead. Screams were heard as men and women witnessed their co-workers and friends jumping out of windows. People who were determined to go out on their own terms and hoping for the quickest end. The towers collapsed. Two thousand six hundred and eighty-three lives lost. In an instant. Due to hatred.
“Where were you when the world stopped turning, ” sang Alan Jackson. Flags were on every available pole; red, white and blue dotted every town and people were proud to be American again. Up and down the streets, business signs read ‘United We Stand.’ People donated millions of dollars and thousands of hours to relief, recovery and repair. We paused watching so much violence on television. Dusty Bibles were opened and studied once more. Churches split open wide, trying to hold all of the people anxious to understand what happened to our fair land.
America, the Beautiful, was truly one nation under God. For a moment, but not nearly long enough. Why does it take tragedy to bring us together and why does the love, unity and camaraderie fade so quickly?
Have you forgotten?