Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looking up - Remembering 9/11

Like many of you, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on this day 7 years ago. In the days following the attack, I wrote this on my website... and I wanted to share it again today:

I don't remember exactly how old I was the first time my dad took me to see the World Trade Center "up close." I couldn't have been more than six or seven. My parents tell me I was only 3 or 4... I certainly look young in these pictures that they found. New York City was so big and so strange--fascinating and frightening at the same time--but my father's firm grip on my tiny hand gave me the confidence to keep moving forward in this intimidating new world.

When we emerged from the subway station beneath the Twin Towers, my dad led me out to the plaza and turned to face one of the outside walls. "Look up," he said. I looked, and the vertical lines of the buildings' outer structure drew my gaze upwards, mouth gaping and head tilted back, until I nearly fell over backwards! It was so big, and I was so small, and somehow in that moment my perspective was forever changed.

Over the next 20+ years I visited the World Trade Center many times. Often, I had the privilege of bringing other first time visitors to that same spot where my father had first told me to "Look up." It was an experience that never lost its power for me, even as an adult.

I was living in New York City during the 1993 Trade Center bombing, but never imagined that I'd live to see the horrific scene that unfolded on September 11th of 2001. I found my way to a television set just in time to watch the second tower collapse. Once again, I felt so very small and helpless... and in that moment I realized that my perspective and the perspective of an entire nation was forever changed.

Like many others, I've been struggling to grasp the reality and magnitude of these tragic events. I don't have any profound answers... nor am I expecting any. I don't understand it... I may never understand it. But as overwhelming and frightening as it is, I am still confident that my Heavenly Father has not loosened His grasp--and when I put myself in His hands, I can face anything in this intimidating new world.

We no longer have the striking architecture of the World Trade Center to draw our gaze upwards, but now more than ever we must "look up." The pain and the loss are beyond description... but the strength of this nation is beyond estimation. So look up... and encourage others to do the same.


NathanMartin said...

Great post! Thanks for the reflection and reminder to look up. :)

Anonymous said...

great stuff, jenni. we miss you in tampa!