9/11: A Memorial
By Jason Harris
When I sat through History of Civilisation class in 2000, the biggest event in modern history was Pearl Harbour. People used to ask “where were you when you heard about the attack on Pearl Harbour?” Today, we ask a different question.
September 11, 2001, 9.55 am: I walk into my Biblical Foundations class at university and overhear a classmate saying something about a terrorist strike. I also hear something about the World Trade Centre towers falling. People shouldn’t joke about things like that. Imagine what that would be like, a skyscraper falling… just over an hour later I stand watching the news in the huge university amphitorium. The vivid, big-screen flashes of terror will never leave my mind.
Less than six weeks later I stand at ground zero, looking on in disbelief at a scene of utter destruction. There is no way to completely explain the atmosphere at ground zero, but a mixture of sorrow and horror is obvious on every face. The choking smoke mingles with the smell of rotting flesh. My eyes are stinging from the debris-choked air and all around I see nothing but pain. Every free surface is pasted with posters seeking information on missing loved-ones. Though there are thousands of people in sight, the atmosphere is quiet, contemplative, solemn.
Now I’m sitting at my desk in Australia—a world away from those events. It seems that time dims the memories—but we must not forget. On 11 September, 2001, the world grew up. The way we would look at the world changed forever. Thousands of years ago, Solomon said “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2) It is good to remember. We must remember the lives that were lost. We must remember the lessons that were learned. We must remember the terrible effects of sin in this world. We must remember the calming power of God in tragedy. We must remember that God is still in control and that He will still be glorified in this world.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)