The day started out as any other day but rapidly turned into one of the deadliest days in American history.
Terrorists hijacked four passenger planes in Boston and used them as weapons. Two of those planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York, one was flown into the Pentagon and one reportedly destined for the White House crashed in Pennsylvania.
The target at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, during World War II was military personnel and the ships and aircraft that made up a large part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The target on Sept. 11, 2001, was much broader, killing men, women and children from all walks of life.
There were heroic acts where those planes attacked on that Tuesday morning. The memory that was the most vivid for me was the collapse of the twin towers. On that day, 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers, 37 Port Authority officers, eight emergency medical technicians and paramedics and one patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol lost their lives. That number does not include the public safety personnel who died later, had to retire or were diagnosed with illnesses related to the attacks. There were thousands of people who had to be treated for numerous types of injuries.
On that day, a total of 2,977 people lost their lives. That number does not include the 19 criminals who carried out the senseless attacks.
We must never forget the sacrifices that many Americans made. Public servants raced into the Twin Towers, attempting to save the lives of the many people in those two buildings. Pentagon officials were serving our nation that day, as they do every day. The passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 were civilians who answered a call that cost them their lives, but changed the course of history with their heroic acts.
I was a part-time staff member at Kingsland Baptist Church on that day. We decided to have a spur-of-the-moment prayer meeting that evening; 250 people attended, which I understand was a nationwide trend.
I had never seen a prayer meeting like that, and I have not seen anything close to it since that day. Attendance at churches was up, but quickly waned, back to “normal” numbers. Whatever that was, I pray that the numbers will again go up, simply because of our daily need for the Lord.
As we remember the heroes, the innocent victims and the aftermath of that day, may we live our lives as a grateful and thankful people. Evil visited us on that day, but it did not defeat us and never will. God is a sovereign God who will one day deal with the problem and source of evil. Until then, we will be faced with it.