Do We Remember?

twin-towers“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.”

http://www.history.com/topics/world-trade-center

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!

God in our schools–God in our children

XstreetGif_USAToday will always be remembered for the infamous crimes that were purposed against our homeland and the overwhelming numbers of lives that were tragically taken from us. Thirteen years later, and the images are just as real now as they were then.  The shock that such a feat could happen in America still makes us numb. As I taught elementary age children today, I realized that none of them were even born on September 11, 2001,; however, several told of cousins that had died that day!

In every class, we sang the National Anthem, not because of 9/11, but because this Sunday will commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of its writing. As is my habit, I review any words that may be unfamiliar with the students: dawn, twilight, ramparts, perilous, gallantly, etc.  We also listened to an “Adventures in Odyssey” which did an excellent job of bringing alive the story behind the Fort McHenry battle during the War of 1812.

In one class, one boy asked if we could do all the versions.  Versions?  Realizing that he meant verses, I found them and put them up on the screen.  I know it’s a lot to read, but take a moment and soak up all that Frances Scott Key was trying to say:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I love teaching children!  I can get quite animated, and as I was telling the story behind the words, trying to instill patriotism into their little hearts, one little boy said, “We need to thank God for keeping helping us win,” or something like that!  Hallelujah!!!

We can try to keep God our of our schools all we want, and believe me—they’ve done a pretty good job of it; but they cannot keep God out of the heart of your child once you have taught him the truths of God’s Word and LIVED them before him!  And no matter how many times they try to dismiss any Christian influence in our history, it’s all there in black and white—even in our national anthem!

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  
Psalm 33:12

National Day of Mourning

Today is one of the most tragic days in the history of America.  On this day, more Americans died than on any other day in US history.  Even on December 7th, 1941, 2,402 of our soldiers were killed at Pearl Harbor.  September 16th – 18th, 1862, was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War at Sharpsburg, MD.  But even on those three days, the total deaths came to 2,108.  On September 11th, 2001, 2,977 Americans lost their lives.  They were not soldiers.  They had not signed up to defend their country.  They were people going to work, just like some of you did today.  They expected to come home that night, and so did their families.  Now, eleven years later, many of the children are now teenagers.  They have had to go on with their lives without a mom or dad, a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or even a close neighbor.

As my husband and I read our devotions today from a wonderful little booklet that we use, I was saddened that the information had nothing to do with 9/11.  It would be easy to just go on and forget.  I’m sure some of you may have been brought up short by the date and found yourself saying, “Oh, yes, it’s September 11th,” as I have done in the past.  For a moment we pause.  We remember where we were when the awful news reached us.  We reflect for a moment on the tragedy, and then continue on, and we must – it is necessary; however, could we do more?  Could we be more empathetic?

 Empathythe ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation.  Please, take a moment to stop and put yourself in their shoes – the survivors of a tragedy that was forced upon them.  Pray for them, hurt for them, and then consider our country.  Consider life before 9/11 and perhaps it will make us all become more aware of the battles that are facing this great nation.  Pray for America and believe that God can make a difference!

“The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.”

Psalm 147:6

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