Lest We Forget
One great lesson from history is that it can totally mold the way you feel about everything; Your emotions, your compassion, your sense of community, and your sense of belonging. It impacts your love of family and friends, your love of country, and your love of, and appreciation towards, God!!! It also impacts your passion and support towards those who’s life pursuit is to protect us, serve us, and keep us both safe and free. I often feel that many of the challenges we have in today’s society is that our young adults and their children, have never experienced the in-depth and painful struggles of our lives nor the lives our parents lived through and experienced, each and every day.
My parent’s generation grew up experiencing the great depression, World War II, and the conflicts in Korea and Viet Nam. They were in their teens when Pearl Harbor was attacked which, immediately following the great depression, thrust our country into World War. Thus, they knew the true value of money and belongings, family, friends, our country’s ability to manufacture world class technology, and of course their 100% dying support and commitment to our armed forces.
I, of course only experienced the impact of Viet Nam. Yes, I had to register for the draft, to go to war, but soon after, the draft was dissolved. I did however experience the civil unrest of the 60’s, mostly 1968, and the corruption of the 70’s. I saw a president get assassinated, a presidential candidate get assassinated, and a world leader for peace, also fall to an assassins’ gun. As horrible as Viet Nam, and those assassinations were, the most defining historical event, of my young adult life, was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded; January 28, 1986 @ 11:39 EST.
At least that was the case for the next 5704 days, 21 hours and 7 seconds.
I like many of you, remember the details of those upcoming days quite well. I was the Midnight Manager at United Airlines, and had just ended my work day and headed home for a couple of days off because I was having knee surgery the following morning; September 12, 2001. On my way I heard the radio reports of a plane hitting the world trade center north tower and like most people passed it off as a small private plan making an unfortunate mistake. I took note but basically ignored the message and arrived home. I flipped on the Dick Van Dyke Show for my morning unwind and channel surfed during the commercials as I always do. One particular commercial drove me to check my local news station only to see, just a few seconds after tuning to this station, the second plane, United Flight 175, one of our own, hit the south tower. (Remember I worked at United Airlines at the time)
I immediately stood up in shock. I was both amazed and befuddled, how could this happen and what the Hell was going on, I thought to myself!!! The next thing I remember, was the first time I remember myself falling to the couch and physically crying over the total carnage of what was occurring before my very eyes, and the massive loss of life, including fellow employees from my company. I couldn’t shake the remorse of these terrorists using MY COMPANY to attack MY COUNTRY!!!
I have had many times of sorrow in my life, loss of family and friends, and each has touched me deeply, as you would expect. But I never remember being so deeply saddened and moved to teers as I was on this morning. Even today, watching any remembrance of that day brings teers to my eyes.
However, as sad and devastating as the events of this day were, I honestly feel God had his hand on things. Bear with me now, I’m not saying He had anything to do with the execution of these horrific events, but I do think He sent His messengers, or the Holy Spirit, to influence the events of the day. So much so, that the day didn’t end up as catastrophic as the terrorists had planned. Let me explain.
Here’s why I feel God stepped in and made sure the terrorists didn’t destroy as many lives as they had planned. On that horrible day, September 11th, the devastation and loss of life could have been far worse. The twin towers generally had roughly 6,000 people working in those buildings at the time the two planes hit. How many accounts and interviews did you read or hear where people, who would have been at work, said something just told me not to go to work, or I just felt I would stay home, on that day. Fifty-seven percent (3,435 people) of the twin tower occupants, that normally would, or should, have been in the towers at that time, lived.
Let’s talk about the planes. As I said, I worked for United Airlines at that time and I know the United passenger and crew numbers; I honestly can’t speak to the American Airline numbers but most major competitors were running very close to the same. Our load capacity at that time was running 95-97% full, so I will assume American’s was the same. However, these were first flights of the day, and on Tuesday, which both see the lowest numbers during a normal day and week. Just like the towers, I’m sure you have heard or read that several people changed plans, were late to the airports, or just didn’t feel like flying that day; “something told me to stay home.” Here are the numbers and time line for the plane occupancy:
Now for the Pentagon; An estimated 800 people were working in the section or “wedge” of the Pentagon where the impact occurred on the morning of September 11, which is far fewer than normal. In an incredible stroke of “luck,” that wedge had recently undergone a major renovation and only a fraction of the workers had moved back into their offices. If the plane had hit any other section of the building that day, there could have been as many as 4,500 Pentagon employees in the flight path. It is still very unfortunate that the terrorists killed 125 people, at the Pentagon that day, but as you can see, well over 4,000 people were spared.
What about United Flight 93. Fifty people, out of a potential 190 people, on board died, including the terrorists. Because some brave passengers fought back and would not allow the terrorists to get to their eventual target, which was speculated to be either the White House or the US Capitol building. It was later uncovered from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, principal instigators of the attacks, that they claimed the intended target was indeed the U.S. Capitol Building. How many people in the capitol building, legislators, legislative workers, vendors, lobbyists, and tourists would have been killed? Remember tours were open to the public in the pre-September 11 era. Based on the capitol’s visitor figures, at that time, as many as 2,000-3,000 people would have likely been in the building on that Tuesday morning at approximately 10:30-11:00am. We can only guess at these numbers of people who would have been saved – Thank God - because something gave those brave passengers the will and courage to fight back and force the plane to crash, yes knowing this action would kill them as well, to prevent further losses.
In total, 3,435 World Trade Center, 90 from the airlines, ~4000 from the Pentagon, and ~ 2,000/3,000 in the Capitol, means that somewhere from 9,500 to 10,500 people survived this horrible day. Was this just fate or good luck, I don’t think so? In God’s world, there’s no such thing as a coincidence!!!
Yes, we should never forget the people who we lost, the families whom have been impacted, and forever hold in our dept those brave firefighters, police officers, soldiers and civilians, and those brave passengers – all of you brave folks and your families and friends will be forever in our prayers and memories!!! You are all in our prayers because we pray to a loving and caring God. We pray for his mercy and grace and we honor him for all he does for all of us.
On this horrible day in our memories, September 11, 2001, I believe that many of our prayers were answered. Even some who do not routinely pray or honor the one true God, were given grace. God is all loving, for all His creation, and on this day, I believe God showed His hand and saved many of us, both physically but also mentally and emotionally.
We shall never forget the events of that day and how terrorism and the devil himself, wish to destroy everything good in this world. But God will make sure that He wins in the end. Just like those brave and valiant passengers on flight 93, they gave their life to save many lives - God gave up His Son’s life to save us all. So, we pray to God; to protect others, to comfort many, to give strength where needed, and to provide what we need-when we need it.
God bless You All – Lest We Forget!!!
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How Precious is life?
How Precious is family?
How precious are your friends?
How precious is your relationship with your Creator?
Do you have enough time to accomplish all your life’s plans?
Will you get a second chance to better your life?
Will you run out of time to share your love for all mankind?
How precious is life … On Monday September 10, 2001, it was just another day … the start of just another week. There were plenty of days, weeks, left to do all the things we all wanted and needed to do. Then came Tuesday September 11, 2001………….. Do you have time to make things right with your Creator?
8:46EDT American Airlines Flt 11 hits the World Trade Center North Tower – 92 on board.
9:03 United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower – 65 on board.
9:43 American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon – 64 on board
10:15 World Trade Center’s South Tower Collapses.
10:10 United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into a Pennsylvania field – 44 on board
10:29 World Trade Center’s North Tower Collapses.
2,977 Killed in the World Trade Center
125 Killed in the Pentagon
Numerous Firefighters, Police Officers, and Other Good Samaritans Killed
- Trying to Help and Rescue Others
Greater than 3,000 Killed
How Precious is Life !!!!!