It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since terrorists attacked our country, crashing two planes into the World Trade Center towers and another one into the Pentagon, forever altering our lives.
I was at my office, taking care of some paperwork and listening to the hosts on CNBC talk about the days coming financial news, when suddenly there was a lot of commotion. As I looked up, they were showing footage of smoke billowing from the tower, and talking about a plane that had apparently crashed into it. It appeared at first to have been a tragic accident.
Then came the second plane crashing into the south tower and all I could think was that this had to be some kind of nightmare—that no one would purposely crash one plane, let alone two planes into the World Trade Center towers.
At that point I was in complete shock, and I had no clue as to how or why this had happened. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the attacks on that tragic day.
Thirty-four minutes later, another plane crashed, this time into the Pentagon. That one hit much closer to home, both literally and figuratively, since it was just across the Potomac River, several miles from our office. Then came the report of a fourth plane, that crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In that case, some of the passengers stormed the cockpit and prevented yet another attack at the cost of their own lives.
Over the course of the next hour, I witnessed on television the collapse of first the south tower, then the north tower. Including the passengers on the two planes that hit the towers, the death toll reached nearly 2,800 innocent people.
I was numb.
Needless to say, little or no work was done that day and for good reason.
I did feel lucky, though, not just because I was alive and that no one I personally knew perished in the attacks, but because my belief in God would carry me through the day.
That faith was reaffirmed by the fact that I spent the latter part of the day with teenagers from my church in a pre-planned religious activity that took on new meaning following the attacks.
While I mourn for those who lost their lives that fateful day, I am grateful for the resolve our nation has shown in refusing to let these horrific attacks on our soil destroy our will. If there is a silver lining, it is that we have emerged stronger and more determined to fight terrorism, wherever it may be and for however long it takes.