“The iconic twin towers of downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center were a triumph of human imagination and will. Completed in 1973, the towers stood at 110 stories each, accommodating 50,000 workers and 200,000 daily visitors in 10 million square feet of space. They were the hub of the bustling Financial District, a top tourist attraction and a symbol of New York City’s–and America’s–steadfast devotion to progress and the future. On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center became the target of a massive terrorist attack that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. The disaster also radically altered the skyline of New York City, destroying the twin columns of glass and steel that over the years had come to embody the city itself.
“The impact of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, was more devastating than any of the building’s designers and engineers had ever imagined. The first plane ripped a hole in the north tower from the 94th to the 98th floors, causing massive structural damage and igniting some 3,000 of the 10,000 gallons of jet fuel the plane was carrying. The second plane hit the south tower at an even faster speed, striking the corner and gashing the building from the 84th to the 78th floors.
“The heroic efforts of the city’s fire and police departments and other emergency services helped 25,000 people escape from the site before the unthinkable occurred. September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters: 343 were killed. The damage done at each point of impact forced the physical weight of the towers to be redistributed, and the undamaged part below the hole had to support the floors above. At the same time, the fires raging in both buildings weakened the steel trusses holding up each floor. With damage to a greater number of floors lower down on the building, the south tower gave way first, crumbling to the ground at 9:59 a.m., only 56 minutes after being hit. The north tower collapsed less than a The impact of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, was more devastating than any of the building’s designers and engineers had ever imagined. The first plane ripped a hole in the north tower from the 94th to the 98th floors, causing massive structural damage and igniting some 3,000 of the 10,000 gallons of jet fuel the plane was carrying. The second plane hit the south tower at an even faster speed, striking the corner and gashing the building from the 84th to the 78th floors.
“Debris from the falling towers ignited fires in the remaining buildings of the trade center complex, including 7 World Trade, which burned for most of the day before collapsing at 5:20 p.m. Overwhelmed by horror, shock and grief, New Yorkers and people around the world trained their eyes on “Ground Zero,” where the fall of a treasured icon of American industry and ingenuity had left a gaping hole in the sky.”
Do we remember? Will we forget?
Fifteen years; five thousand, four hundred seventy-nine days;
and yet it seems like yesterday.
We remember where we stood when we heard the unbelievable.
We remember the shock, the horror of watching those towers crash
over and over again.
We remember the utter helplessness and unbelief,
hearing it in the most seasoned news reporters’ voices.
“Our world will never be the same,” they said.
We didn’t understand it, but they were right.
And the message is ever the same. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, and he said:
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Their generation is done, their days passed in a moment,
but God alone is still our safe haven,
and with their passing, we remember that a thousand years in thy sight
are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.(4)
We spend our years as a tale that is told, (9)
and we realize that only God knows when the last chapter will be completed.
Oh, that we would live this life, remembering those whose lives were cut short!
Not in sorrow, but in reverence and thankfulness
for the lessons their tragedy can teach us.
The days of our years are threescore years and ten;
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off,
and we fly away. (10)
So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (12)
Number each one! Every hour, every moment—for them,
for all who are taken because a brother was cast out, and the other was blessed,
but most of all, for the One who was cast out and crucified!
We did not ask for this lesson,
but it was forced upon us.
It is our responsibility to stop and remember and learn.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Mt 11:29)
Lives are changed when they are touched by tragedy, and the greatest tragedy of all times is that the perfect Lamb of God died for my sin–tradedy turned to victory!