Terrorism was the furthest thing from my thoughts or reality that day.
I will never forget that historic day. It was a Tuesday. We usually had chapel on Tuesday mornings. We happily chattered as we walked from one building to another for chapel, and then when back in our little second grade classroom, we were ready for reading class. I don’t remember much about the morning before finding out the events of 9.11 because it was just an ordinary day at first. September 11th is my mother’s birthday, so we had planned for her to stop in for a special birthday lunch during my break.Terrorism was the furthest thing from my thoughts or reality that day. My reality was family, teaching little ones, and loving God that day. That was all.
That morning I had dropped off three of our four sons to their school buildings before heading over to my own classroom. Although the campus was wide-spread, we were within walking distance of each other. My husband, who travels on a regular basis, happened to be in town that morning and was taking our oldest son to the orthodontist. A typical day… until my administrator unexpectedly knocked on my classroom door to talk with me privately in the hallway.
I just wanted to grab my own children…and run home.
Bless her heart; she personally broke the news to each of us one at a time with such poise, compassion, and grace. She asked if my husband was in town and assured me that my children were safe on campus. We had no television in our rooms, couldn’t get service on our phones or internet, and we were to carry on with our classes without letting the kids know. Soon children started slipping out of class one by one as their parents came to collect their babies. I just wanted to grab my own children across campus, find my husband, and run home. Finally, when the school day was over, all six of us just sat mesmerized for hours at the images on television.
When was this going to end?
We were terrorized, but who had cause this this terror, and why? Why were these buildings falling? When was this going to end? How can this be happening? Now we watched as another plane flew into a second building. Dust. Clouds of dust. People running. People jumping out of buildings. Rubble. Inexplicable facial expressions. We were watching this live on television, and as a result, we couldn’t reach out to these dear, terrorized people. We wondered where every person we knew was that minute- checking one by one to see if they were okay. Our dear sister in law was in the in country- away from her own family in the Marshall Islands. Consequently, it was weeks before she could travel home alone on a very long international flight, and contact with her family in the meantime was difficult. Was this really happening?
We were a country in shock.
Glued to the television, we saw twisted metal, death, and destruction. Additionally, and most noteworthy, we discovered that terrorists deliberately attacked innocent people on our own land. Now this became more than just an event in New York City, it became nationwide terror. This had never happened before in our country, and certainly not to this extent. First we saw planes flying into buildings in NYC, then planes attempting to attack Washington DC, a plane crashing in Pennsylvania: all making us fearful if and where there would be another tragic attack on our country.
We were a country in shock. This was reality. We sat speechless and had no words to express to our kids except to hold them close and to praise God that we were together. What would this mean going forward? How would their world change? Should we go back to work and school tomorrow? Is it safe to go anywhere? How do we sleep tonight?
God gave grace day-by-day.
God gave grace day-by-day, and amidst those terrorizing photos, we also saw heroes arise to pull people from the rubble. We saw heroes who bravely protected one another and people who had survived the attacks. We saw families reaching out to other families who were searching for their loved ones. Churches and groups everywhere rushed to help and give support. Young and old, black and white, male and female: we knew no boundaries that day. Just people loving on people. We saw law enforcement, fire fighters, and elected officials stand strong, building a patriotic and proud spirit in our country members. People were asking, “Why?” but also looking to God. Even in the middle of a terrifying time, people looked to God. Where else does one look for strength, peace, and comfort?
- God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
- In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. Psalm 86:7
- The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
- Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8
- For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5
We saw heroes rise up amidst the attacks.
Days went by and we were able to determine who was responsible for these hateful acts of terror. We realized how brave our countrymen were and saw heroes rise up in the midst of the attacks and in the days going forward. We were reminded that one of the acts of terror was to scare the rest of our country and to keep us from moving forward. President Bush reminded us of the values of our great country and how to work together to work through this difficult time.
I remember the day that the FAA allowed flight travel to resume. Although we had heard and seen many planes fly overhead before, it was especially odd to hear and see planes flying over the playground once again- but this time, we wondered where the planes were heading and why. We never even noticed before.
A new normal.
After a time, adults were able to find a new “normal” and help their children to do the same. Terrorism was now a household word and part of our every day vocabulary. It is a word that accompanies the events of 9.1.2001 in our American history books. It affects my job on a regular basis as I travel often to speak at homeschool and Christian school conventions nationwide. Every time I have to remove my shoes in the TSA line, I remember the gift of freedom and the value of those lives that were lost on September 11, 2001.
Not an isolated event.
Unfortunately, the attacks of 9.11.2001 were not an isolated event in our recent history. Sadly, in the past fifteen years, we have seen evidence of other hateful groups who despise our American principles and the country’s founding Christian values. This reminds us that our world is a big place and not everyone values what we do. It helps us to train our children to love God, country, and our fellow man. More than ever our world needs to see that “ …we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephes. 6:2)
Our children need to know that God is sovereign, just, holy, and loving and that we are safe in Him if we put our trust in Him. They also need to know that as Christians, we are called to stand and be prepared to battle sin every day so that others can see the reflection of Light in us. We need to train our children to use their talents and gifts to love God and love our neighbors. Time is of the essence.
- Behold the City by Mathew Recker
Sharon Fisher holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Elementary Education. She has 14 years of full time teaching experience in the elementary classroom, served as Curriculum Coordinator for Bob Jones Academy, and served as an elementary author for BJU Press. She has contributed to a variety of elementary educational materials and has presented workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of elementary-level subjects and teaching methods. She currently writes a blog and is Social Media Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist for HomeWorks by Precept, a provider of excellent education products, including BJU Press. She is the mother of four grown sons, a grandmother to Ben, and has a passion for encouraging Christian educators and homeschool parents to teach children with excellence and with a biblical worldview.