Each year on Pearl Harbor Day, my mom and dad remembered out loud where they had been and recalled the events of that terrible day. I understood the facts. Still, I couldn’t share with my parents their feelings—the gut-wrenching grief, anger, and surprise that changed America on December 7, 1941. I wasn’t alive then. It would be sixty years before I could fully comprehend the deep emotions connected with Pearl Harbor.
This Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, my generation’s Pearl Harbor. I had watched it unfold on television, detail by frightening detail. The crooked imprint of Flight 11 where it smashed into the World Trade Center North Tower. Flames leaping out from the building’s glass and steel frame red hot against the bright, blue sky. Flight 175 slamming into the South Tower. Men and women jumping from windows, gravity pulling them swiftly down through the billowing black smoke to the concrete below. The Pentagon hit by Flight 77. South World Trade disintegrating into a pile of rubble. White dust racing through the corridors of Manhattan. Thousands running for their lives. World Trade North tumbling down. Rumors flying. Utter chaos . . .
Fifteen years later, we again find ourselves observing Patriot Day, a resolution signed into law by then President George W. Bush to honor the memory of the 2,977 people killed in the September 11 attacks.
Today, those in their late teens and early twenties are too young to remember the events of 911 with any clarity. The oldest of those born since September 11, 2001 are high school sophomores today. This is the post-911 generation. Their America is different from the one I knew prior to that fateful day, and so very different from the America my parents knew before Pearl Harbor. Some things haven’t changed though. We still hope. We still have faith that America will survive. God hasn’t changed. He continues to hold the world in the palm of His hand.
If you are old enough to remember September 11, 2001, then this Sunday do something to honor and celebrate the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives—live for them! If you are too young to remember, then take time this weekend to learn about Patriot Day and what it means. And no matter how old you are—Pray. Pray that our America will never again suffer through a Pearl Harbor or a 911.
Just pray . . .
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