We interrupt the CONTEST sticky in honor of 9/11.
Seven years ago, I was getting ready to retire to bed when a neighbor called me on the phone saying that a plane just slammed into the World Trade Center and for me turn on the TV.
I turned the TV on and proceeded to look for any news about this. You see, I was looking for images of the World Trade Center along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines (as that was where I was!) and I could not find any. And only after going around the channels a couple of times did I see the twin towers in New York! I realize that it was THE World Trade Center that had a plane slam into it.
On a 13" TV, I saw one of the towers with smoke coming from it. Then, the footage of the plane hitting the tower was replayed and I was utterly shocked! I remember thinking - What happened? How could that happen? In this day and world where we've got high tech tools to navigate planes!
Then a few minutes later, and this time, I am seeing it live...another plan hit the other tower. And I gasped. And I heard the commentators gasp and they were wordless.
Then as if that was not enough, the towers started to crumble. And I thought, where are the people? How could a building collapse like that? Could it be that there are explosives in the building? Did someone plan this?
Then we heard about the 2 other planes...wow...
I cannot recall exactly if the one of the towers collapsed first before the second plane hit the other tower. To me, it is not important. All of these was destruction.
All I knew is that I felt confusing emotions - shock, disbelief, anger - as I helplessly watched all these unfold in a 13" TV.... across the Pacific.
The hairs in my body still stand even as I recall this.
Across the Pacific, the next day was somber. I remember a lot of muted conversations in corridors and cubicles. I remember some meetings with our US counterparts being cancelled. After a few days though, it was business as usual.
I have been up the World Trade Center. A gracious high schoolmate brought me there when I was visiting New York in the early 1990s. At that time, these buildings did not mean a lot to me. (In fact, I was more excited about the Empire State Building.) They were just 2 tall buildings with views of the city at the top. Just like any tall buildings in the middle of any city. (Sure, it had underground stores and the subway - which at that time was new to me.)
I lived across the Pacific until about 5 years ago, where we were a bit insulated from the long-term emotions of events such as this. Sure, the technology has made it possible for us to know the latest and greatest news from all over the world. However, unless you actually live in the affected country/region/area, the drama of the event eventually blows down faster, as what I earlier described.
Today, I live in this country where Nine Eleven is a hallowed, sacred date to many people. What does it mean to me now?
I am from a generation who has not experienced war first hand. In the midst of everyday life, I still can get entangled in the busyness of life and forget that monstrosities and wars of the past can happen again.
In the same way that I can forget, there will be some people who will in the future again inflict such unfathomable violence and disrespect of human life.
For the Word of God has already said that nothing is new under this sun. Man has not changed.
" What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it's the same old thing.
Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"?
Don't get excited—it's the same old story.
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered. "
(Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, The Message)
Whatever happens, there is one thing that is steady in my heart:
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20)
Would you like that, too?
At Ground Zero and everywhere, banners saying "We will not forget." go up and are taken down. I have read many bloggers still saying the same - "We will not forget."
I am not an American but I pray to God that I, too, will not forget.