Sep 11, 2009
The following is from Shawn, who shared this on our Chrio email group. I thought that it was so powerful and well-written that I wanted as many as possible to read it. Amen, Shawn. Here it is:
Eight years ago today, I had just wrapped up writing a story about
Michael Jordan making an NBA comeback. It was the big national story
of the morning, and as the national news writer at a local TV station
it was my job to be all over it. It was the kind of story I’d spend
my morning expanding throughout the 4-hour newscast. It would run
But it didn’t.
At 5:46, we got word of a fire inside one of the buildings at the
World Trade Center. Live images were already pouring in on the
satellite feeds. We scrambled, like the rest of the world, to figure
out what was going on. Minutes later, we started to hear reports that
a plane had crashed into the tower. We didn’t know why or how, but a
plane had actually crashed into the tallest building in America. Like
most of the world watching live at that time, we all thought it was
some tragic accident. Then minutes later, at 6:03am Arizona time, I
watched as a plane, barely visible on screen hit the 2nd tower. The
huge fireball the came next shook me. I was six months into my career
in news, and had already written hundreds of stories of destruction,
carnage, murder and mayhem. I was already starting to become numb to
it. But, that moment changed me, forever, as it did the rest of the
It’s almost laughable, that my first thought was to wonder what kind
of computer malfunction could possibly direct planes into those two
buildings. Was there some kind of catastrophic failure at air traffic
control? That fleeting thought lasted about 30 seconds, before it
dawned on me, as it had or would for the rest of the world: human
beings had intentionally done this.
The next hours at work were a blur. I don’t remember much. But, one
memory sticks out. When the first tower fell, the newsroom screamed.
A woman standing next to me yelled, “Another plane hit the tower.”
Others agreed. The people around me couldn’t comprehend what had
really happened, even though they were seeing it with their own eyes.
The tower was coming down. I’m not sure any of us were equipped to
see how depraved humans could be.
Unlike, a lot of my co-workers, friends, and relatives, I wasn’t angry
in the weeks to come. I didn’t and still don’t condemn Islam for
making 9/11 happen. History is riddled with people and groups using
the so-called tenants of religion (even, and maybe especially,
Christianity) to lend credibility to killing untold numbers of
people. These prophets of doom prey on disenfranchised people,
promising them salvation or righteousness. They convince the most
vulnerable people in any given society that violence is okay by
promising some eternal reward.
I find it interesting and incredibly motivating that Jesus spent his
time on this earth ministering to the same people. Instead of
preaching violent rebellion, he fed them. Instead of promising future
reward for doing his bidding, he healed them. And, I can’t recall one
instance in the Bible where one of the people Jesus helped strapped on
a vest of explosives and walked into a crowded marketplace.
So, on this day where we mark a tragedy, I’m also giving up thanks to
my Savior for showing me a different way to fight the terror we see.
It’s a way that I know will only come to full fruition upon his
return, but one he calls on us to work toward right now.
So here my prayer for the day:
“Dear God, Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
Show me where my time and money are best spent helping the same people
your Son helped. Guide my heart and my thoughts to help people see the
love you have for all men and women. Let that love help transform
hate wherever it lives. Let it heal long-standing wounds. Let it
cover our fears and ease our doubts. Amen”
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