Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Word For Wednesday A Reflection On September 11, 2001

It is time for A Word For Wednesday. I posted it on our YouTube Channel a few moments ago.

Today, I am reflecting on September 11, 2001, twenty years later. I would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below or in the YouTube comments.

Thank you, Davy

A Reflection On September 11, 2001
Twenty years ago this past Saturday we were living in Wichita, Kansas and I was serving as Pastor of New Horizon Holiness Church. We were renting a house 3 tenths of a mile from the church and I usually started my day early in my study at the church.
That Tuesday I got caught up with something outside and I was late getting away. I stepped into the house to speak to Kelly Jo and Odie before leaving and the phone rang. Some of the details have faded with time, but the emotions come rushing back at any mention or thought of September 11, 2001.
On the phone was my mother. She called to tell us that something hit the World Trade Center in New York City. We turned on the clock radio in our bedroom and our emotions bubbled over as we three huddled close to each other on the bed and listened with mouths silently open.
Do you remember the punch in the gut when they reported that a plane had flown into the second world trade center tower?
What? That can not be an accident, right? I remember the confusion, the unbelief, the fear, the worry and then hours later, the anger.
All of these emotions and many more were sweeping over us as the three of us sat on the bed and listened to the radio all day long.
Then came the report of a plane hitting the Pentagon.
Then US airspace is closed and planes are ordered to land.
The South tower collapsed.
The North tower collapsed.
A section of the Pentagon collapsed.
We begin to hear reports of a plane crashing into the ground in Pennsylvania.
The news people begin to speculate about how many thousands may have been killed in the collapsing towers.
They wondered aloud who might be attacking our nation. They speculated what targets may be next. The White House, the Capitol building, Nuclear reactors? Strategic military bases? Like many cities, we had a military base only a few miles from us.
For many hours we were glued to the radio. Throughout the day we called to check on family and friends and the people that attended the church that I pastored. Everyone was fine, but everyone was shaken.
I did not have the capability to process all of the emotions that day. Since then I have read thousands of words about the lives that were ended or changed or affected on September 11, 2001. We have visited the memorial site and the museum twice. I still do not have the words to process it. It was overwhelming then and it is overwhelming now.
There is a movement now to wipe the horror of those events on that day from our collective memories. 
Do not show the images of the planes. 
Do not show the images of burning buildings, of collapsing buildings.
Do not show the images of people falling from the buildings before they collapsed.
Do not talk about the perpetrators. 
Do not discuss the fact that they did this in the name of their deity and in loyalty to their leaders and their religion and their god.
Campus Reform interviewed students on the campus of the University of Florida recently. The students thought the gruesome details of 9/11 should be completely ignored and there should be no discussion of who was responsible. The students emphasized that America was not good and we should not take pride in our nation.
Oh, my stars! That makes my head hurt!
I suppose they think we should teach 9/11 something like this. Some bad things happened to America on September 11, 2001 and some people died. It was a difficult time in our history but we needed to see how bad America was and our enemies were justified in trying to wake us up by harming us.
God help us! Twenty years later and America is being destroyed from within.
Nearly 3000 people died on American soil on September 11, 2001 because religious nuts hated America, hated capitalism, hated our system of government, hated anyone that did not serve their god and tried their best to destroy us.
It must be said loudly that most followers of that same religion did not, do not want to kill Americans or destroy Americans. But it must be said just as loudly that these men killed Americans in the name of their religion.
3000 lives ended in a moment. 20 years later and people are still grieving, still hurting, still crying and still trying to live on. 
Many in the world would like us to forget.
Many in the press would like for us to forget.
Many in the government would like for us to forget.
But we must never forget.
Families were forever changed and scarred. 
Parents lost children. 
Spouses lost their companions. 
Friends were separated forever. 
Many businesses lost key employees. 
New York City Fire Department lost 343 firefighters
New York City Police Department lost 23 officers
New York City Port Authority lost 37 officers
Over 3200 children lost at least one parent.
How could we ever forget?
We must never forget. We must never omit the details. We must never sidestep the truth to avoid hurting a snowflake's feelings. Those 19 hijackers and the men who sent them did not care for the feelings of thousands they hoped to kill.
We must know. We must learn. We must remember. We must care. We must remain vigilant. We must never forget.
September 11, 2001 made me want to pull people I love closer and let them know how much I care for them. It still does. Nearly 3000 people lost their lives in NYC, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The more I read the stories of victims and survivors and heroes, the more I value life at its very core.
Life is valuable. Life is fleeting. Life is too short to waste on ourselves. God help me to remember.
We visited the 9/11 Museum and Memorial in August 2014 and 2016. These two visits had a sobering impact on our family. We were seeing many of the film clips and pictures for the very first time. I have described it as an emotional punch in the gut.
The hours we spent there were some of the most sobering, severe and significant hours in my life. It is a place that haunts not only my sleep, but often even my waking hours. It may seem cliche but I assure you it is not, 9/11 changed our lives forever, even those of us that were thousands of miles removed from the destruction.
In the museum I came to the slow realization that we are not talking about a group of 3000 random people being tragically killed, which is heartbreaking in itself, but we are talking about 3000 individuals, all with families, hopes, dreams, ambitions and plans.
The personal cost, the personal hurt, the personal tragedies are completely overwhelming when standing on their own. To hear their voices, to see their pictures, to watch video clips of them with their families, to hear their loved ones talk about them is powerfully poignant. When you put it all together in one event and attempt to add up all the loss of real, living, breathing humanity, it is unfathomable!
Consider just one personal story we learned there. It is the story of Captain Terrance S. Hatton the commander of Rescue 1 in Manhattan. Captain Terry Hatton was killed in the north tower when it fell. 
His wife, Beth Petrone Hatton was the Executive Assistant to Mayor Rudy Giuliani. She was standing on the steps of City Hall as the World Trade Center collapsed. She knew exactly where her husband was at that moment.
Captain Hatton was a man of duty. He was 41 years old and had served the NYFD for 21 years. In those 21 years he had earned 19 medals for bravery including the highest award in the city, the Medal of Honor. He was considered by those that served with him as one of the best.
Beth Petrone knew all that. She knew her honorable husband would be on the highest accessible floor conducting rescue operations. That was his job and he did it well.
As she watched the tower fall, she instantly knew he was dead. The dust engulfed City Hall and Beth found herself holding handfuls of the debris thinking she was somehow holding her husband.
They found Captain Terry Hatton's remains two weeks later and buried him in the fashion of the hero he was. By then, Beth Petrone Hatton had learned she was expecting their first child.
Terri Elizabeth Hatton was born in May of 2002. She is a beautiful teenager now and she will never know her heroic father except for stories. He will never hold her. He will never tuck her into bed. He will never read to her. He will never walk her down the aisle. He is gone. Beth lost her husband and little Terri lost her Daddy, simply because he went to work that morning.

That is the story of only one man that died and it does not even include the hurt of his parents, his siblings, his other relatives, his friends or the men he worked with and all the rest he left behind.

Multiply that one story by 3000 plus stories and you have not even begun to scratch the surface of why we should never forget!

Maybe you will enjoy your family today. Maybe you will go to church and worship. Maybe you must concentrate today on walking through your own personal hardships or even tragedy. Wherever you are and whatever stage in life you are in, please take a moment to think about all that were lost on September 11, 2001. 

Take a moment to remember. Take a moment to consider what might have been. Take a moment to pray for Terri Elizabeth Hatton and many, many of thousands of others that are moving forward and trying to overcome each day.

I believe we owe them that much.


  1. We must never forget. We must never omit the details. We must never sidestep the truth to avoid hurting a snowflake's feelings.
    This BroDavy is the whole truth which You've said right here & I've always agreed that 9/11/2001 should never ever be forgotten.
    Bless You & Yours always !~!Also it was most wonderful seeing Y'all yesterday & always is by all means,

    Frank Shiflett


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