Many people posted memories of their whereabouts on 9/11/01, and here’s mine: I was standing in the radio station news room at Spring Arbor University. CNN or one of its indistinguishables played on the TV in the corner, the anchors in disbelief. Dave the Engineer stood next to me and watched, saying that this single event would change everything about the world. He was absolutely right.
My question is this: where were you on 9/12/01? I remember going about everything as if normal, though tinged with the sepia tone of shock and surreal. Nearly every conversation that day revolved around the twin towers, which seemed so distant and irrelevant yet frightenly close to home. We didn’t know what this would all mean, so we started the next day like normal, unsure of what questions to ask. Facts came to the surface and life was now eternally different. This is my memory of 9/12.
Not long after the event, the great Robert E. Webber wrote a book that helped me understand myself as a younger evangelical, one who is “marked in a very special way by the events of September 11, 2001. They know that the world will never be the same, that the ideals of prosperity and the hopes of a pre-September 11 world of peace will never happen. The rise of terror by militant fundamentalists is marking their world and creating an ideological battle of religions.” Webber said that today (post 9/11) will be marked by “issues of peace and war” (Syria), “a new economic tightening of resources” (housing, unemployment) and a more disciplined life” (the rules have drastically changed).
When I read Webber’s book at 22 years old, I began to realize our shared 9/11. Many people died a death that no one anticipated. That kind of widespread evil is frightening because it is elusive, and now everyone will pay with time, energy, money, and the low, constant din of general apprehension. We didn’t appreciate 9/10 for what it would be.
I remember 9/12. I remember where I was because it’s where I still am. We’re all still here, trying to get through 9/12/01. As I think about this, a song in a minor key plays in my head. The song is O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. It seems to fit.