911: Remembering & Recommitting

September 11, 2001…where were you?

911 002I was actually in the Washington DC area on a business trip on that fateful day in American history, along with my then seven-year old daughter, Kristen. (she is now 17 and a senior in high school!) We were getting ready to fly home on that very morning the planes were flown into the twin towers in New York City.

And ironically I am in Virginia again on this 10th anniversary of 911.  This time I am here by myself without my precious Kristen.  I am here to help my mother who has recently had some intense health issues that require her to need assistance.  When I first made my reservations to come to the East coast it did not dawn on me that I would once again be in the nation’s capitol on September 11.  I believe this anniversary is an appropriate time to remember, to reflect, to honor those whose lives were lost and who gave sacrificially and to renew our commitments to our faith, our family & friends and our country. How significant then that the Lord would orchestrate the circumstances of my life to be in the same place I was on that fateful life changing day.

Here is an excerpt from my photo album written shortly after September 11, 2001. (I am so thankful that I took the time to write this down back then, one of the many bonuses of being a scrapbooker & journaler!)  –

911 003From the moment I turned on the television at my mother’s home in Springfield, Virginia…everything began to become surreal. I sat frozen alone on the couch as I realized the atrocity and severity of what was happening. Terrorists hijacked  two airplanes and crashed them into the twin towers in New York City. As the events unfolded I watched with horror, along with millions of Americans who were glued to their television sets.  It was like we were watching a nightmare and wondering what might happen next and if we would ever feel safe again.

All I could think was that I wanted to be home with my family. I was 3,000 miles away and with all air traffic being suspended indefinitely, there was no certainty of when I could get home. I called Dan who was still unaware of what was happening on the East Coast (It was still very early in California). He prayed for me & told me how much he loved me. He also shared how relieved he was that I was at home at my Mom’s and not on an airplane at that moment. As I sat back down to watch the unfolding drama I learned that another plane had crashed just down the freeway from where I currently was staying — into the Pentagon. I was stunned! 911 005What was happening…and what would be next? It was at that point I looked down at my confirmed airline itinerary dated September 11. 2001 from Washington DC to California. The full impact hit me. My daughter and I could have easily been  passengers on one of those airplanes heading to California. I began to cry & praise the Lord that it was not my time to die and that I was not on an airplane right then being diverted to another city somewhere in the United States.  Instead, I was safe at my mother’s home with my sweet daughter. I had a lot to be thankful for that day. We finally did get home five days later. (but not without several delays and obstacles including getting stuck in Minneapolis for a night and being graciously taken in by a business associate, Leanne Anderson, who rescued us from having to sleep in the airport) When we finally touched down in San Francisco, I cried. I had never been happier than to simply be home with my precious family.

911 001In the aftermath of 911, it was inspiring to see patriotism come to life in America. Everywhere you looked people were wearing red, white & blue, flying flags, putting up signs & showing their love for their country & fellow citizens. Flags were everywhere – on every home, hanging from bridges, on cars, on buildings, on clothing…it was overwhelming & emotional. I found myself with eyes filled with tears and getting choked up several times a day as I witnessed the love of others and the patriotism that had been sorely missing in the daily life of most Americans. People also began to give of their time, talent & treasure in abundance. On every street corner money was being collected & people gave freely. Many volunteered their time and stood in line for hours to give blood. It was an incredible moment in history to witness this outpouring of love & generosity.

911 004This tragedy of 911 also turned many hearts back to the Lord and to faith. Everyone was in desperate search of answers and in great need of peace, hope & security. People were coming together in droves to pray and seek God. Our common faith in God became evident to all. The cross rose up out of the ashes of the towers and became a symbol of hope for those at Ground Zero in New York. We all knew that we desperately needed God. No one was offended by people praying or evoking the name of Jesus. There was a National Memorial Service broadcast worldwide where Billy Graham boldly proclaimed the gospel.

September 11, 2001 was truly a day that changed everything. 

911Were you changed by the events of September 11?

Did you stop everything & order your priorities aright?

Did you have a renewed sense of patriotism & love for the USA?

Did you weep with those who lost loved ones and hold your precious family closer?

Did you give blood, donate your time or money in the aftermath?

Did it draw you to the Lord?

Perhaps on this anniversary of 911 it would do us all some good to recommit to these same things today.  In this ever-changing and turbulent times we are living…none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

It is so easy in the years following a disaster or life changing event to lose your resolve, be lulled into apathy or even forget the things that you thought would stay with you forever.  Take the time today to remember and recommit yourself to loving God, loving others, loving life and loving our country with the intensity we did after 911.

I will be re-committing my life to these values as I attend a memorial service in Washington DC on Sunday. I want to live my life as if each day could be my last –

  • ready to meet my Lord by humbly living a life pleasing to Him
  • loving my dear family & friends and spending time enjoying each other
  • reaching out with kindness and compassion to strangers, those in need and even those that I find challenging
  • not stressing about the small inconsequential things that try to irritate or distract me from the truly important things in life
  • joyfully serving my church, my community, my country and my world using my God-given gifts & talents to benefit others

What do you remember about the way your life changed after September 11? What values will you recommit to on this anniversary of that horrific day? Don’t let this moment pass you by without some reflection on the past and commitments for your future…in just a blink of an eye we will be another decade away from this fateful day…let’s be changed for the better!

God Bless America!

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6 Comments

Filed under Blessings, Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take", Priorities

6 responses to “911: Remembering & Recommitting

  1. No, we will never forget! I remember that you asked me to do the weekly conf. call training for our CM unit and was so frustrated at 6am PDT that when I called the conf. call # (that happened to be in NYC) that “all curcuits are busy, please try again later” message. For 15 minutes I kept getting that message. Argggg! I had not clue what was unfolding back east until I went on campus and someone said that it would be an interesting day…a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers. I meandered on home and turned on the TV out of curiosity and saw the horror of what was happening…then panic hit as I realized that YOU and KRISTEN were supposed to be on a plane that morning to fly home from Mom’s house. I didn’t find out for an hour or so when I finally got ahold of Dan that you were ok.

    Today will be a day of sobering remembrance. Put your flag out today and remember!

  2. Gloria Borden

    Thank you, Beth, for reminding people of the importance of this day especially for those who are not in the cities where these tragedies happened. I drive by the Pentagon at least twice a week, and it is always a sobering, tearful moment of remembrance even moreso with the opening of the memorial which I see from the interstate. I’m pleased that I took Michelle, her friend, and the Paynes there last Saturday.

  3. Suzanne

    thanks Beth, for sharing this! I’m sorry to learn of your mother’s physical challenges but glad that you can be with her. Yes, it’s amazing how God does orchestrate things in amazing ways. This post will be used for God’s good and glory. Your thoughts and feelings might not have been as poignant or so easily expressed had it not been for your mom’s need of you, which I’m sure is quite challenging and potentially discouraging for her. God is amazingly good! 🙂 He is the Victor!! I’ll be praying for you and for your mom. Though I only met her a couple of times as I took the train to come visit you (in, dare I consider…1979 and 1980?! 🙂 and of course at yours and Dan’s wedding), I sure remember the generosity and strong character of Mrs. Borden! Rich blessings to you, my friend! Suz

  4. Ceci Sallee

    What a beautiful reflection on that fateful day. Thank you for sharing this inspirational piece. A reminder to continue in our hope in God, our country, and fellow Americans especially during these difficult times that our country is going through.

  5. Jason Edwards

    I have a hard time talking about 9/11. As an American veteran it shook me harder than any other day of my life, and in the aftermath has left me with a lot of mixed emotions, most of them negative. In the spirit of this post I will try to focus on the positive things, the changes that have come about in my life that have made me a better person…
    I had a very redneck sense of what patriotism was, you’ve seen the tattoo and knew me when i first joined the military, I’m sure you remember how gung-ho I used to be… I was ready to go wherever they sent me and do whatever my government told me to do without question or remorse and kick anybody who questioned it in the teeth. The wars we’ve been fighting since that day have been difficult to justify for many Americans and at first that was a real problem for me, I didn’t want anything to do with people, especially civilians, who didn’t agree with what we were doing overseas as a nation to protect our way of life here on the homefront. In time, as the reports came back of troops being sent out without the proper training and equipment to do the job, news of what the private “security contractors” were doing in the name of Liberty and how much they were getting paid, out of the American pocket, to do it, I began to question how we were doing what we were doing, beagn to question the people in charge and the decisions they were making, to some extent began to question the validity of open warfare in an attempt to bring just a handful of people to justice. Then they passed the Patriot Act… proponents of the poorly named Patriot Act called it a “neccessary evil,” 11 years ago, such legislature would have been called a grotesque violation of our Constitutional rights. I have learned in the past ten years to stop letting the government think for me, to form my own opinions on how they are doing their job, to listen to the opinions of others, yes, even civilians, to respect their ideas, to look for the wisdom in their words, and to be open to letting them change how i think and feel about my nation and its leadership. In short I learned that true patriotism is the very anithesis of being ready to go where they send me and do what they tell me without question or remorse and to kick anybody who questioned it in the teeth. In addition, I saw a much better attitude in Americans as a community pertaining to wars that are of questionable validity. “I don’t support the war, but I support the troops” was the mindset of the times and a welcome change from the way our servicemen were treated during the Vietnam war.
    I have a fairly dark, morbid sense of humor, I always have, and to a great extent it revealed a dark and morbid mentality. I used to joke with people when they asked me why I joined the military… I used to tell people that “i wanted to kill people and blow stuff up instead of going to Bible camp this summer…” (breathe deeply, sip your Starbucks 😉 and to a great extent i wasn’t joking (breath again, yummm… pumpkin spic latte… ahhh…). my own personal experiences overseas in Haiti in the wake of the Cedras coup did little to change this, i lost interest in the military because there wan’t enough “action” or even enough legitimate training just a lot of paperwork, yard work, and other maintenance work that i didn’t feel a Special Operations Forces soldier should have any part of briefly interrupted by a silly “wargame” now and then that had no validity or application to any real-world mission, (it was really just a bunch of guys shooting blanks and finding creative ways to blow up CO2 cannisters to sound like grenades followed by a barbecue and some beers) to rub it in my face how ill-prepared I was when I DID show up in-theatre to the real-world mission. In the ten years since 9/11 I have seen so many reports of so many people, dying… I stopped trying to look up the death tolls online, it’s too hard to get an accurate picture of the true loss of life this vendetta has caused, too easy to see that some people are grossly exaggerrating the figures either high or low based on their personal political agenda. I used to love the numbers too, to me they represent progress, goals being accomplished, winning meant killing people, so the more people we killed the more we were winning, and the happier that made me, and i didn’t much care about civilian casualties overseas either, they were the price we paid for our freedom and someone else was paying it, it was the price they paid for loyalty to a nation that meant to harm the United States or the price they paid for US to come to thier nation and give them freedom from their oppressive rulers, wither way, it didn’t bother me one bit… Not so much anymore, I can’t stand the numbers now, even the low estimates, it’s an unfathomable loss of life to bring so few to justice, an egregious price to have to pay for anybody’s freedom be it mine or theirs. I’ve begun to think about how it would feel to be in their position, what i would think of it if America attacked China over their civil rights policies without the input of the voters and got steamrolled in the invasion, i doubt i would see the liquidation of my fellow Americans as a fair price to be paid for a government that acted foolishly in an attempt to send a message to another nation with whom we had a policy dispute. I don’t sympathize with the taliban, I sympathize with the average Iraqi and Afghani civilian who never wanted any part in 9/11 or the war in their homeland that was sure to follow it, those that had no choice but to pay the price for our freedom. They kill more of their own people with their IEDs and suicide bombings than they do Coalition forces, i dare to guess that they kill more of their own people than the Coalition forces themselves do, it it just disgusts me, because if that many people were willing to lay down their lives for their government and way of life there, they could annihilate us. Most of them are just people in the marketplace doing their daily errands or driving down the road to or from work. I’m honestly not that scared here in America of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack, the terrorists weren’t particularly successful on a strategic level of killing very many people or striking fear into our hearts, but if I were living in one of the hot zones in Afghanistan or Iraq, I would be TERRIFIED… I’ll stop illustrating this point, it’s just making me sick to think about it… suffice it to say that 9/11 and our ensuing quest for justice has completely taken the taste for sensless violence from my mouth, which has translated itno a much more healthy and productive attitude about violence in general, both in the global theatre of war and my own personal life. I never used to be the type to turn the other cheek or walk away from a fight but I have become just that guy, I never used to consider the consequences of acting out of anger without restraint or forethought, without consideration for the other guy and how my rash behavior could impact his life and the lives of his family. It has made me a much more safe and sane person and much more fit to remain a part of society to look at the big picture and has most likely kept me from going to prison.
    So, even the positive things come at somewhat of a price, be it mine or others… I can’t say that 9/11 has brought me back to God or closer to God, though i can see how the changes in my mindset may have built a foundation for Him to draw me closer. And alhough it is completely unrelated to the events of 9/11 as far as I can see, i would like to share the good news that on 9/11/2011 I celebrated my third week of sobriety, a milestone that i have not passed in more than 20 years, and that it is just the beginning of a much longer journey, one which will ensure that, regardless of the events related to our ongoing war on terror, on 9/11/2021 I will be a much better person than I would have been…
    Thanks for sharing, Beth, loved this, I always do – J

  6. Gloria Borden

    I’m glad you could be with me as we relived that horrific day. We had beautiful messages of hope from the pulpit and from the concert showcasing a new work of rememberance.
    Love,
    Mom

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