Reflections on September 11

Reflections on September 11
Posted by Dr. Stanton on August 29, 2019

Tomorrow, we remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  It is hard to believe eighteen years have passed since that beautiful Tuesday morning when news broke about a plane flying in to the World Trade Center and then watching the evil unfold live on television.

I remember the day so well.  I was in my third year of teaching and one of the school secretaries asked if I heard about the accident in New York City.  Shortly thereafter, as another teacher and I watched live with students, the real evil became transparent as the second plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center.

As I think back to that fateful day and the watershed event that it was, I am reminded that, though evil exists in the world – and we saw it in very clear and direct ways that day – we live not for this world but for a Kingdom where our King is the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God.

So much has changed since 9/11 and, yet, so much has remained the same.  As Americans, we do not like the thought of being inconvenienced in any way.  Lines at the airport are now a regular part of life but if the line is too long, we forget why there is even a line at all.  Our political views, which were greatly set aside in the aftermath of the attacks and the swell of patriotic fervor have been put right back on display with an ever-increasing partisanship and loathing of ‘the other side’.

As we look back on eighteen years, I am not calling for political healing or anything of the sort.  I am calling for us, as Americans, to remember why we were so affected on that day and afterward.  Certainly, there was death and destruction but, at the root of it, there was an attack on who we are as a people and what we represent – freedom.

We cannot simply pretend evil doesn’t exist and hope nothing bad will happen to us again.  On this anniversary, I look to instill in my students the sense that, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, freedom is just one generation away from extinction.  Let us never forget the heroes of 9/11, those that were lost, and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the ensuing war years, but let us recommit ourselves to the goal of preserving freedom as the shining example of what is best about us as a country and as a people.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln that “it is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…”  I pray we do not shirk from the task and the responsibility we have as Americans to be the shining city on the hill and to offer ourselves and our nation to a gracious God.

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