Patriot Day! September 11, 2001 is a date. I will never forget. It’s my prayer that none of us do. I’m sure almost all of you have heard the question, “Where were you win…?“ Each generation can fill in the blank to fit their lives. My mother has told me she remembers where she was when JFK was assassinated. When man first stepped on the moon. For me, there are two big ones as well. The space shuttle exploding after takeoff is the first one. I was a freshman in class watching it live. It was terrible to watch. And the second one is 9/11. I was also in school because I was teaching at that time. The disbelief is something I will never forget. The uncertainty. The sorrow and the anger. It was bone chilling. Looking back at it, the world has changed so much since that morning. Some are good changes. Others not so much.
Last night I caught just a moment of 60 Minutes on CBS. It was a story on the New York Fire Department since 9/11. I’m sure you can find it online if you do a search. It will be worth your time. But, right now there are over 60 children of NYFD fallen firefighters from 9/11, that now serve as firefighters in the NYFD. NYFD lost 343 that day. A number that we should all remember. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m guessing almost all of them lost their lives when the towers came down. Something that we all watched live on TV. One of the interviews last night was with brothers who lost their father that day. The first tower had already fallen. Yet, he and others still decided to go into the tower still standing to try to rescue all they could. Knowing very well what was probably going to happen. Isn’t there some thing in the Bible talking about laying down one’s life for their friends?
One thing that caught my attention during the interview was how one of the new firefighters said it was not 9/11 that led them to follow in their father’s footsteps. He said it was the days that followed. Starting with September 12. He was talking about how everyone around them stepped up to help take care of his family. His mother was now a widow raising several children. And everyone around them came in to help try to fill the hole that was left with his father‘s death. He is forever grateful, and wanted to pass on to others what he was given. So now he’s trying to do that. Simply amazing! So today, let’s be thinking about what it is that we are grateful for? And I think as we ask that question, let’s look at what God’s grace has done for us. Let’s be grateful for that. We are undeserving of it. We don’t earn it. We never can. But God‘s grace is still there. Not to make life easy. Not to erase our pasts. But to cover us so we can then show grace to others. Even when they don’t deserve it. Let’s be grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made for us. So we can have eternity with him. So today, let’s remember September 11, 2001, and…Let’s simply be grateful!