Where were we ten years ago?
Sunday, September 11, 2011 by {darlene}

{a flea market painting that hangs in our master bedroom, featuring the New York skyline that will always be NY to me.}

Everyone in America remembers where they were on this day, 10 years ago. We remember the details of who we were with and exactly what we were doing as the horror unfolded.

I have been steeping my mind in reflections on that day. And, I never post on a Sunday, but my head was swimming with words that I had to pen.

Don’t you remember how we all said, “we will never forget?”

Last night, my husband and I watched a video of live news coverage from that day and the weeks following… and I was surprised:

At how much I forgot.

I am so glad that I watched these videos again. I cried and cried, and even healed a few wounds that I did not realize were still open. In my mind, I had been replaying the plane crashes whenever I thought about 911. But I had not remembered, so clearly, the unity of our nation at that time, and the countless examples of hearts turning to God and the love of lives outpouring in pure sacrifice to those in need. It had faded.

And, 10 years later, I can now reflect on history and realize what that terrible day really meant to me:

It was a line in the sand. It was a day when, truly, my innocence was taken away. In my own protected, lovely bubble of American peace and stability… I awoke that day to the reality that evil is real and strong, and crouching at my door. And September 11 was the day I came face to face with that reality.


But, what rebuilt my heart and my faith in the Bigger Reality of the soul, was the love. The love that Americans showed for one another at that time. I tasted that unity, and it was Good. People drove for miles; gave up their jobs: to help. People volunteered countless, grouling hours: to rescue. People prayed; served; fed; held each other: to comfort. What the terrorists wanted to tear down, we built up in those days – hand in hand.

That is why I grieve whenever I see Americans engaging in verbal and political Civil wars of hatred and division. I’ve realized that 10 years later, I want to cry out to our beautiful country: “Don’t you remember? Don’t let them win.”

Yet, I have no new battle cry for this country and the people that I love that has not already been sung:

Have you ever heard the last verse to our Star Spangled Banner? Likely not. These words are rarely sung, but I think they are among the most stunning and beautiful words ever written. I urge you to read our country’s own national anthem:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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