Remembering 911

It is the 15th anniversary of the massacre of the innocents by the godless.  Here is my recollection of that day.  May the Lord give His justice to these murderers.

You remember where you were when the twin towers went down.  It is an unforgettable memory the same way that, if you are old enough, you remember what you were doing when you learned that JFK was shot.

I am from a very small town in upstate New York, about eighty miles from midtown Manhattan.  The area is old farmland now turning into the outer exurbs of New York City; an area populated by city policemen and firemen and the diehard commuters willing to make the two and a half hour trip each way to go to work in the canyons of Wall Street so they can have some space, fresh air and decent schools for their children.

On September 11, 2001, I was working as a policy analyst at the headquarters of a large Federal agency.  Greg, the deputy director of the litigation staff, who was also from New York and with whom I shared work space, came to me about nine in the morning and said that a plane just hit the World Trade Center.  He had it on his TV and we watched what we were convinced was an awful accident.  I quickly called my wife who worked in a small town in upstate New York and told her of the tragedy.  Moments later as Greg and I were watching the black smoke pour out of the upper floors of the WTC we saw the second plane hit the other tower.

I tried calling my wife again but by now the phone lines were totally jammed.  A woman who worked with me began screaming hysterically.  Her only daughter worked in the twin towers and she couldn’t reach her to tell her to get the hell out of there.  It was clear that something had gone horribly wrong.

Back home in New York the firemen, police and rescue workers were rushing furiously to the scene of the mayhem.  Among them were Frank Callahan and Donald Regan of my town.  My wife was able to get reach our local high school were our youngest daughter was a student.  The students were all being kept in their homeroom classes.  The guidance counselor came into her class room and called her name.  We heard from your father in the Washington area and he is safe.  Then they called her classmate.  Her father was a fallen hero at the World Trade Center.  For more than a year his dog tags were draped over the votive candles at out little Catholic church.

Several months later, the local paper carried an article about the recovery of some of the remains of a missing local fireman.  After months of sifting through rubble, workers found part of the face of a murdered fireman.  His fourteen year old son was quoted in the paper saying “Now I can bury my father.”

All Federal offices were closed after the attack and air traffic was grounded.  My temporary quarters, an apartment on the BWI flight path, were eerily silent as I sat there that evening watching the empty sky.  I was at a loss to make sense of a senseless act.  I took my Bible in my hand and prayed for a moment.  Dear God, please guide me in this time of trouble.  I then randomly open the Good Book and read the first passage that I saw.  It was Psalm 17.

Listen, Yahweh, to an upright cause, pay attention to my cry, lend an ear to my prayer, my lips free from deceit.
2 From your presence will issue my vindication, your eyes fixed on what is right.
3 You probe my heart, examine me at night, you test me by fire and find no evil. I have not sinned with my mouth
4 as most people do. I have treasured the word from your lips,
5 my steps never stray from the paths you lay down, from your tracks; so my feet never stumble.
6 I call upon you, God, for you answer me; turn your ear to me, hear what I say.
7 Show the evidence of your faithful love, saviour of those who hope in your strength against attack.
8 Guard me as the pupil of an eye, shelter me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the presence of the wicked who would maltreat me; deadly enemies are closing in on me.
10 Engrossed in themselves they are mouthing arrogant words.
11 They are advancing against me, now they are closing in, watching for the chance to hurl me to the ground,
12 like a lion preparing to pounce, like a young lion crouching in ambush.
13 Arise, Yahweh, confront him and bring him down, with your sword save my life from the wicked,
14 Yahweh, from mortals, by your hand, from mortals whose part in life is in this world. You fill their bellies from your store, their children will have all they desire, and leave their surplus to their children.
15 But I in my uprightness will see your face, and when I awake I shall be filled with the vision of you.

And that night I truly believed.

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One Comment to “Remembering 911”

  1. hellen camarillo
    Posted October 6, 2016 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    Very energetic article, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?

    Sorry, Helen, this is it. I could write about contingency measures that I was involved in for a major Federal agency but most of it is either boring or classified.

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