Ten Years Ago in Our World

We all remember the bright blue skies and the sunshine on that Tuesday morning. In Carol Stream, Illinois the beauty of the day was unreal. The horror in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania was unreal. The empty skies that night were unreal — so many airplanes were not in the air that night. The birds singing in the trees was a mockery to the terrible crying of the people who escaped the Towers. Tears flowed and flowed and flowed as the towers collapsed, and we knew that thousands of souls were still inside. In a state of shock, I managed to get the kids to school and even stopped at the grocery store for some basics before heading home to watch it all on TV.

I remember wandering out to my fenced-in suburban backyard, and just staring up at nothing in the sky. Just nothing. Not a cloud to catch my gaze. Just nothing. Tears flowing, I whispered to my heavenly Father, “God, what’s happening? Where are you? What’s going on? Why why why?” And no answers. I just dropped to my knees and cried. And then went back in the house to watch more of the reports for the rest of the day. I moved the TV into the kitchen so I wouldn’t miss anything, but when the kids came home from school that day I put the TV back in the living room so they could watch Arthur on Channel 11.

I didn’t watch much TV after the first day of the attack. I tried to shield my kids from the violence of that day — we put on our normal faces. I held them tighter than ever and nearly stopped all my housework for a week or so, just wanting to sit with them and be with them whatever they were doing in their worlds. I made meals and we ate together and prayed together at night. Every night we would go outside and look at the dark sky, enjoying the quiet and trusting that the great military presence of our country would deter any further attacks. There was comfort knowing that the F15’s were patrolling the skies and that America’s heroes would be remembered always.

We lived just a few miles from O’Hare International Airport, and soon the commercial planes were on their paths again. For months and years after we were attacked that day, I would still see the images of planes crashing into the towers. EVERY single plane flying overhead would remind me, and I would see it smashing into an imaginary building and balls of fire and black smoke billowing out. My own minuscule PTSD, I suppose.

Today life is pretty normal, except that we’re all changed and normal has changed also. We are still waging a war against an invisible enemy, but I have faith that America will somehow have victory in the long run. My sons are sailors in the U.S. Navy — a global force for good. I am proud of them, proud of our country, but so saddened by the horrible loss of life on 9/11. I cry to think of the supreme sacrifice of life — the brave men and women who have been killed fighting the War Against Terrorism.

I still ask God “why” but the answer is not as important as it used to be. We can only hope that things will get better, and that someday there will be no fears, no tears, no anger, no terrorism and no enemies. Belief in God’s goodness and His sovereign love can and will sustain us. He is faithful to remain with us to the end. May His love and peace bless you today. Love, Natalie

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