Fifteen years ago today, I was teaching seventh grade geography and the counselor walked into the room at the end of second period, she looked upset and out of sorts. After the bell rang and dismissed my second period class, another class entered, the students got to their seats, and the bell rang. Before the third period class began, the counselor read a short prepared statement that changed my day and told us that the course of history for our nation and the world had changed forever. I don’t remember what she read, but she left immediately afterwards and the room felt like the air had been sucked out of it. Somehow, we all made it through that day and over the course of the next few days we learned the true horror of that day.
This morning, fifteen years later, 9/11 is a Sunday. This time it is Bible Sunday for our church’s third and eighth graders. Eighth grade is the confirmation and class and O waited excitedly for her Bible. She was born over a year after 9/11 and for her, 9/11 holds only the meaning that we have tried to share with her. She didn’t experience it, nor did she know what the United States was like before 9/11. She only knows what it is like now.
In April 2015, on our way home from Spring Break in Washington, D. C. we stopped at the Flight 93 – 9/11 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We will never forget.
This morning, I watched my sweet daughter O beam with excitement when she received her Bible and she could barely contain herself when she returned to the pew to sit with us for the rest of the service. She fidgeted throughout the sermon and helped me find the closing hymn in the hymnal – “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.” We sang it as John Wesley instructed congregations in his Instructions for Singing from 1761, we payed attention to #4,
“Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength …
It was a wonderful service and the hymn was a reminder that though much has changed for our nation and the world, our principles continue to survive. May we never forget.
After the service, B and I talked with the mom of boy W’s age, they were in the same confirmation group five years before. 9/11 was W’s first day of pre-school and he remembers his mom staring at the television and crying, when he asked why she was sad, as only a three-and-a-half-year-old can ask, she responded, “Honey, it’s just bad news,” and she turned the set off. W and his friends only know 9/11 as a day of sadness and what we have taught them. Now both are stretching their wings and off at college.
Before I left church today, I found my favorite stained glass window, said a quick prayer, and snapped a photo. It reminds me of the hope of the world and that light always prevails. Always.
It’s a beautiful sunny day in northern Illinois, much like that Tuesday fifteen years ago. It’s late summer and the days are warm, but the nights are beginning to get cooler. Fall arrives in in eleven days on Thursday, September 22. Before long, the leaves will be turning, then falling.
Today is gonna be a great day – it already is off to a great beginning, but there is much more left to do as there always is, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking back, but ALWAYS looking forward.
Thanks for stopping, have a wonderful day looking back and remembering, but please look forward. Peace.