Today is is the 20th anniversary of the horrific attack by the Taliban on September 11th, 2001. If you were alive then, you almost certainly remember exactly where you were when you learned about it and saw the Twin Towers as they collapsed. If you were there, you may have a very impactful story. I was in school. First hour was a US history class – it was completely normal. The teacher gave the lesson and homework. When I went next door to Creative Writing – one of the first things I saw was the TV turned on to a news report showing a video of the planes crashing into the towers.
When I was helping in the ESL class this week, I wanted a word strong than “sad” or “sadness” to describe it. “Travesty” is the word I was looking for. There was anger, but that wasn’t the first feeling I had when I saw the towers collapse, and it probably wasn’t for many others also – many people who were there felt fear or perhaps a sense of duty. As I watched the videos of the firefighters and police who were there, they didn’t feel fear. They calmly handled the disaster and helped clear people to safety. It’s hard to imagine what it was like to actually be there.
Something we talked about that I hadn’t known beforehand was The Great American Boat Lift. All boats – tugboats, fishing boats, cruisers – any boat – was called to the pier to ferry passengers to New Jersey. An impressive part of the video for me was when a comparison was made to the evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII. That lasted 9 days. The Great American Boat Lift lasted 9 hours. Tens of thousands of people were rescued when the Coast Guard called for all boats to report to the pier and assist in evacuating survivors. Pretty incredible.
This reminds me of Psalm 62:6 (HCSB), which says:
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
The Lord certainly provided rescue and triumph in a time of terror.