News Articles

9/11 REVISITED (First-Person): It was just another day …

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–It was just another day; a Tuesday to be exact. I had risen early and was reading the news on the Internet. The weather forecast predicted a beautiful fall day in the Pacific Northwest — where I lived then — clear and crisp. The dateline on the stories I perused all read “Sept. 11, 2001.”

I clicked to navigate to a popular news website. When the screen loaded there was breaking news that a jet had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. I glanced at the time; it was 5:46 a.m. along the Pacific Coast.

I turned on the television and watched as news reports tried to make sense of the chaos unfolding in downtown New York. As the nation watched, the unthinkable happened. At just a few minutes past 6 a.m. on the West coast, a second plane slammed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

It seemed all too clear that the collisions into the World Trade Center towers were not accidents. Reports indicated they were insidious attacks perpetrated by the Islamic terror organization known as Al-Qaeda.

Less than an hour after the first jet crashed into the World Trade Center reports came that a plane had slammed into the Pentagon. Soon there came confirmation that a fourth hijacked plane had crashed in Pennsylvania.

It would later be learned that passengers on United Flight 93, the jet that went down near Shanksville, Pa., had fought back and caused the plane to crash far short of its intended target, which may have been the White House.

I remember the remainder of that day unfolding in surreal fashion. The range of emotions I experienced on Sept. 11, eight years ago, ran the gamut from sorrow to anger and everything in between.

There are a myriad of lessons to be gleaned from the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Obviously there are lessons that relate to national security, but also there is the sobering reality that there are people in the world whose ideology motivates them to kill anyone with a mindset different from their own.

President George W. Bush was right when he said of Sept. 11, 2001, “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.”

Amid the many lessons to be learned from the tragic events of eight years ago, one sticks out in my mind. And that is that life can change and it can change quickly. One moment you are enjoying a routine day and in the blink of an eye something happens that alters your life forever.

Most of us experienced the tragic events of Sept. 11 from a safe distance. Most of us did not lose a family member or friend in the terror attacks; of those that did, their lives have not been the same since. While our sense of security might have been shaken, our lives were not nearly as upset as those who still grieve the loss of loved ones.

We need to heed the lesson of eight years ago that life is fragile and unpredictable. We need to realize that every day does not necessarily end in the routine way it started.

Too many of us live under the illusion that we have an unlimited amount of time. We take for granted each sunrise and expect each sunset to be the same as the last. Mostly, we take for granted that that those we love the most will be there to greet us at the end of the day.

The one lesson that I gleaned from Sept. 11 is that life can change unexpectedly and quickly. As a result, I need to let those I share life with know that I love them. I need to squeeze all of life out of every moment I am with my family. I need to embrace life and live it now.

The future, whether it is the next five minutes, five days, five months or five years, is not promised or guaranteed. “What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor — a puff of smoke, a mist – that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air],” is how the Amplified Bible states the truth of James 4:14.

The reality is that no day is just another day. Today is your life, live it to the full and let those you share it with know you love them.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Kelly Boggs