9/11 Stories


Story of the morning 3 days later…

Dear Friends and Family,

Those who know me well know that I don’t devote a lot of interest in world events, but this was no ordinary event. I do not consider myself a very patriotic person, but I can no longer live with these profound thoughts that I feel I must share.

As I was making my morning coffee, as I do most mornings, scooping out the coffee grinds from the yellow “Chock Full of Nuts” coffee can; I could not help but notice the skyline of New York City on the can. Barely being able to focus due to morning consciousness or lack thereof, my eyes move in to the Twin Towers in the silhouette of the New York skyline on the can.

I thought at first, “Will they change it? Or will they leave it as a kind of memorial?” Suddenly I was stuck with sickening, horrific memories of the accounts of people in wheelchairs trapped on stairway landings and children whose parents never came to pick them up from school. The reality of such evil, such cunning evil, that strikes without mercy or prejudice. Enticed within myself to explore the sheer gravity of this grief I then ask a question of my own courage.

In light of fireman and police and who knows who else who rushed into two towering infernos that could collapse at any time and eventually did to rescue others. To think that they did this without thought of their own lives sounds heroic, but I think they were fully aware that their lives were at risk and pursued regardless which is above and beyond heroic and thus is courage defined.

These terrorists stole a sense of control and security. Terrorists greatest weapons are not hijacked planes, bombs or guns, but fear. It is the account and visual response that followed that unmasked me. Will I choose now to love others with the same courage rather than out of the false security and control of when I only feel it? Will I move forward beyond those things in my own life that I know hinder me with the same courage to deny them rather than claim my rights to them.

What 12 years of American History in school could not teach me, I learned in 24 hours on that day. The idea of America is great and is worth fighting for. To protect it and that we demand the most excellence in its maintenance through government and hold it accountable is crucial to our personal freedoms. That it is not primarily my right to be protected and demand comfort but my privilege to be its citizen and serve this idea with all my resources, talents and yes,even inconvenience if necessary for the betterment of each other. That is why those men stormed the shores of Normandy in WWII because they knew it. That is why Washington and his men sailed all night in the icy Delaware and walked till dawn to Trenton in light of such opposing odds because they envisioned it. And that is why they dig through the rubble and flags fly everywhere because it should be preserved.

As a friend told me sometime ago in one of my darkest hours,“You are so much more than what has happened to you.” The same is true for us all. And God bless America not because we deserve it nor because we even ask, but God bless America because of those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice with their very lives for the lives of others the very visible, ultimate interpretation of His unconditional and perfect love.

For perfect love cast out fear.

Jeff - PA