Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let Us Never Forget

Where were you 7 years ago?

I had just recently started my junior year of college at Colorado State University. I was living in a house with four great Christian girls and loving life. One of my roommates dad's worked as a pilot for United Airlines. My mom works as a flight attendant for Frontier Airlines.

It was about 6:45am MST on a Tuesday and the phone rang. We were all starting to get up for the day, and my roommate, Brianne (go figure...5 of us in a house and 2 of us have the name Brianne), answers the phone because it's her mom. She tells us to turn on the tv and watch the news. Brianne and I go downstairs and turn on the news just in time to see the second plane hit the tower. At this point we're in shock. We're trying to figure out what airline(s) it was because of the fact that two of our parents worked for the airlines. When we realize that one of the flights was a United flight, we start to wonder if our roommate's dad was working the flight. Thankfully, our roommate's mom calls to let us know that her dad is okay. Brianne & I go to wake her up and are trying to explain things and let her know her dad is okay.

I try getting a hold of my mom but can't so I call my dad in Colorado Springs. He was just getting up for the day too and hadn't heard anything about what was going on so I told him to turn on the news. He lets me know that my mom is in recurrent (training they have to do every year) so thankfully she's not flying.

It was all so surreal. We all just sat there and watched for what seemed like hours. Classes were cancelled for the day. A few of us decided to go for our 5 mile walk and at least twice people pulled over asking us if we needed a ride someplace. The spirit and attitudes of people were just one of community and willingness to bond together and help out.

In the days that passed, I learned that the brother and nephew of someone I worked with at camp in Michigan had been on the United plane that hit the tower. Little did I know that in less than 5 months I would start dating a guy who lives within an hour of NYC and that many people in his town lost loved ones on that day.

I never visited NYC prior to September 11, 2001, so it's hard for me to fathom how tall those towers stood, but I've been to the World Trade Center site numerous times since and it's a humbling place.

There were great heroes on that day. We all remember Todd Beemer from the flight that went down in PA and his phrase, "Let's Roll." I never would have guessed 7 years ago that I would be going to church with his widow and their children.

What does September 11th mean to me and you?

Today on my way to work, the Christian radio station I listen too was discussing whether we should make September 11th a federal holiday like the 4th of July, Labor Day, etc. Most people who called in said that they didn't think it should be a holiday because they fear we'll turn it into another day to have a mattress sale and that the real reason for the day would be forgotten.

As a Colorado girl living in this East Coast world, I have a slightly different view. While September 11, 2001 affected the country as a whole in regards to us being at war, the threat of terrorism, and changes in the way we fly to list a few, the loss of loved ones is felt less and less the further you move from the East Coast. While it's a tragic loss, so was Pearl Harbor, and we don't have a federal holiday to honor that. One thing I've noticed living out East is that New Yorkers can tend to have this mindset that what happens to them impacts everybody in the entire country. I'm sorry to burst their bubble, but while I feel deeply sorry for those who lost loved ones, I know from experience that they don't all grieve for those who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing they way they want our whole country to grieve for them.

While I definitely think we should honor the memories of those who died on September 11, 2001, and especially hope that we will all recall the attitudes of helpfulness and community we experienced on that day, I do not think it is deserving of a FEDERAL holiday. How about you? Do you think September 11th should be a national holiday and how does it impact you and those near where you live?

Thank you to those brave men and women who fought and died for our fellow Americans that day and every day since. I know I personally will NEVER forget.


  1. Wow. That really impacted me when you quoted the response of most people to "Should this be a national holiday?"

    Most people who called in said that they didn't think it should be a holiday because they fear we'll turn it into another day to have a mattress sale and that the real reason for the day would be forgotten.

    We Americans sure are good a totally missing the point of a holiday. Christmas = Santa and presents, Easter = candy and bunnies, Labor Day = mattress sales.

    I think there is a difference between the Oklahoma City Bombings and 9/11. One difference is that it wasn't just one city that was affected but three. Don't forget the Pentagon and whatever happened in PA that was supposed to be another national landmark. It's also different because it wasn't some insane American performing a hate crime. It was a group of insane religious fundamentalists making a point about how their "world" feels about America and their intentions to destroy us. I think it did impact the world in a global way, for one thing starting another war.

    I don't think it should be a holiday because I think holidays should be to celebrate something. On Veterans Day we should celebrate valor and courage and on Labor Day, um, hard work? (I still don't know the meaning of that one.)

    I don't think September 11th gives us anything to celebrate, but definitely to remember. Perhaps a "Day of Remembrance" would be in order. Kind of like the National Day of Prayer. Not a holiday but something "national."

  2. I guess the President had the same idea as me. :-)

  3. I find it interesting that you go to church with Lisa Beemer and her children. The pastor of the church Luke and I went to in Mt. Pleasant was in the same small group as Todd and Lisa (his name is even mentioned in the book "Let's Roll") It is a small world, isn't it!

    I had the opportunity to go to NYC in 1992 and clearly remember how tall the twin towers stood and how it helped define the skyline. I haven't been back since, but I am sure I would catch my breath when I saw the empty skyline.

  4. Okay, I know I'm a few years late on this, but I just found your blog, Brie! I will never forget 9/11, either. I was in 8th grade, Civics class, when we found out what happened. Even though I went to the school my mom works at (where Lisa's kids all attend now), I found out before she did, because her team is always in their little office bubble.
    I coached Lisa Beamer's boys when they were on the diving team...such talented kids. She's done such a GREAT job raising them. I remember when I first started going to my "own" church, while I was home during the summers, I saw Lisa and her kids, and about 10 of my other divers. What a small world =)


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