The Day After Yesterday: My 9/11 Reflection

Posted: September 12, 2011 in Life
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Pentagon 9/11 Flag

WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Even though I was not personally affected by this great tragedy, it is still hard for me to muster the mental and emotional energy to reflect on that day. I just remember waking up to a phone call from a close friend with these words: “Tejado, someone just crashed a plane into the World Trade Center! Turn on your TV!”

When I turned on the TV I was shocked and horrified at the images I saw. I turned on the TV just as the second plane hit. Then came news that a plane had hit the Pentagon, which was only a few miles away from my house. I hurriedly got dressed and drove to the church while listening to the news. There was mass hysteria! There were news reports of bombs and fires all over the DC area.

As I drove, my eyes were not on the road; they were on the sky. With all of the news reports, I thought that another plane could come dropping out of the sky at any moment. As I looked at the sky, I remember one thing that is still so vivid in my memory. There was not one cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful late summer/early fall morning. In the midst of all the hysteria about planes falling out of the sky…the sky itself was calm, peaceful and serene.

I finally (and miraculously) made it to the church without crashing. I couldn’t even make it to my office. I ran straight into the chapel, fell on my face, and began to weep uncontrollably. I cried out to God for what seemed like hours. The thought of so many lives lost, so much devastation, simply overwhelmed me. The rest of that day is pretty much a blur. The only thing else I can remember is that around 5pm I had to drive into Virginia. Two things struck me as I dove. The first is that downtown DC and the highways were a ghost town! There was NOBODY on the roads. DC has one of the worst traffic patterns in the country, yet at rush hour on 9/11 the roads and highways were completely empty.

The second thing that struck me that day was driving past the Pentagon that first time and actually seeing the wreckage of that plane sitting in the middle of the building. Thick black smoke emanated from the wreckage. It served as a metaphor for the dark cloud that hung over the city and the country. However, that smoke did not last forever. The next time I had the occasion to drive past the Pentagon, the smoke had dissipated, the wreckage of the plane had been removed, and in its place was the largest American flag I had ever seen. It was draped down the entire side of the Pentagon where the crashed plane once sat. It was a reminder that although the terrorists took down the TOWERS…they could never take our POWER!

Through faith, love and unity, we were able to come through that great tragedy…together. Now, we need that same spirit of unity to bring us through our nation’s greatest economic tragedy since The Great Depression. We must remember that we are not a nation of black, white, or Hispanic; blue or red; Democrat or Republican. We are a Nation of ONE!

We honor those who have fallen…and celebrate those who continue to stand!

-TWH

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