Saturday, September 11, 2010

Re-Post of 9/11 Post from Last Year


In honor of the 9/11 anniversary.... I am re-posting my thoughts from last years post.

Today I was looking at my calendar and noticed that this Friday is the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the US. The most horrific attack on the US some say since Pearl Harbor.
Do you remember where you were that day? I do, I was on the job at First Baptist Church, Norfolk VA as the Minister of Childhood Development. (If you aren't familiar with Norfolk click the word and it will take you to their city webpage) Anyway, I was at work in a town that boasts the worlds largest Naval base so you can imagine what happened as a result of the attacks and the fact that we were located just 3 hrs away from Washington, DC.

You got it, the city went into red alert full lock-down. (A full lock-down means that people must stay where they are and may not exit or enter a classroom, apartment unit, store unit, an office space, condo unit or to enter or exit the building.)The tunnels were shut down (Norfolk is a water town and connects to other cities via tunnels that go under the water and when we are on red alert these tunnels which connect the city to the Naval base and the other surrounding cities shut . I should also mention there are bridges too that also get shut down but there are several tunnels as well which are worse to turn people around in.)People were stuck on the highways taking forever to be re-routed so they could go home.

We had a full Weekday preschool in session that day that was for babies through Kindergarten and were instructed to go into full lock-down as well. Once again a reminder that this means that no one can come onto the campus or go off. This also means that until you get the all clear you are stuck. Now this poses a problem for babies and toddlers if you don't have formula or juice that they drink not to mention extra food. It was crazy to say the least. Our Weekday Director Terry and her fabulous teaching crew got really creative taking care of those kiddoes. But all got fed, diapered, and taken care of that day. Teachers were troopers pulling out the stops on all their creative teaching methods keeping children calm when they began to notice that school was taking longer that day and no parents were arriving.

For us in the office we were glued to the TV set in our Senior Associate Pastor's Office. (Sorry Ralph ) I remember being horrified at the images and feeling it was all a bit surreal. Something out of a movie not somewhere just a few hundred miles up the road (the Pentagon) or somewhere our staff had gone for staff retreat the year before (New York City).

When I arrived at FBCN the Fall of 2000 I met and talked with Sailors and their families in our church who had survived the attack on the USS Cole one of the Naval Ships bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden. So my awareness of the the worlds opinions of the US, their threats and actions as well as their hatred of her jumped through the roof. But after that day I became even more aware of ships going out remembering even more to pray for them and their families and an awareness of the colors Yellow Orange and Red not as colors of crayons or even ozone alerts but as threat alert colors...we stayed in the Red zone for quite a while after 9/11. I remember being relieved when we went down to Orange. So were my parents who were lived here in Texas at the time and my Grandparents who were only 45 minutes away from me in eastern NC. They wanted to come and pack me up then and there to come to their houses. Too funny.

I admit I did things differently after that day. I was more aware... of things around me. I didn't wait to thank people, talk with friends and especially my family. I cherished the time that we tend to think we have tons of. I saw the world around me differently. That Fall that year in the Tidewater area was the most beautiful that I remember ever seeing anywhere. Leaves were vibrant colors, air was crisper, the ocean was bluer, spray rose higher and it all pulled me in. Now I know that it wasn't that vastly different than previous seasons except maybe the leaf colors but I had more of an appreciation. But notice I used past tense words. I have gotten comfortable again. Its been 8 years and here I am again getting back into that rut of Scarlet O'Hara's: "I'll think about that tomorrow." So its time to buck up and remember and go back to that mindset of not putting off til tomorrow.

So do you remember where you were 9/11/2001? Many of my friends here in North Texas probably remember the Oklahoma City Bombing more vividly since we aren't far from there and many of them have family there. But I think most people remember that day. Were you stuck in an airport, school or store?