Reflections of September 11 // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

We must draw meaning from life’s tragedies. If we don’t, that’s a double tragedy!

As the events of September 11 unfolded, I recall the shock and horror we all experienced together as a nation. We were riveted to our televisions as the newscasters feebly attempted to make sense out of chaos. A common foreboding echoed throughout the airwaves and our neighborhoods: “Things will never be the same again.”

Now, looking back in retrospect, is that statement true? Will things ever be the same again? What is different now than then?

Life has changed in many respects. Airplane travel is more complicated now than it was a year ago. Since September 11, I have been pulled from an airport line three times for “further frisking.” Maybe it’s random. Maybe I look like a terrorist. Maybe it’s the metal rivets in my shoes. Regardless, air travel has changed quite a bit.

We have a new vocabulary now. Words such as Al Queda, Anthrax, and Taliban were unknown before September 11. Now they are household terms.

The news has changed too. Ever since September 11, little written news updates scroll across the bottom of the screen on several channels. Except for stock reports, I don’t recall seeing that before.

Our sense of security has definitely changed. As the rumors of war echo, we all still live with the probability that someday it will happen again. Our nation’s leaders have often repeated, “It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN.”

I was glad to see that so many people turned to God during the weeks following September 11. That was a positive change. Churches were filled to capacity for at least two or three Sundays. People turn to God in times of crisis. For some, this resulted in life transformation.

There was also a renewal of values in America that was far overdue. We experienced a renewed patriotism, a renewed faith, a renewed unity.

Although our behaviors pretty much went back to normal, after the immediate crisis faded from our emotions, people seem to be proud to be Americans again.

September 11 taught us some valuable lessons, which we should never forget:

1. God is our anchor.
2. Prayer is our lifeline – for every situation of life.
3. Rescue workers are heroes.
4. America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave.
5. Our common values are greater than our differences.
6. God loves us far too much to waste our painful experiences.

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