We will never forget.
Those words will ring in my heart and mind for the rest of my life.
The Patriot Day Ceremony at Johnny Henderson Park on Sept. 11 in remembrance of the victims who lost their lives on that horrible day in 2001 brought back a flood of memories and heartbreak I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Everyone who is old enough to have watched on television as our nation was under attack that day can tell you exactly where they were, what they were doing, and what thoughts were racing through their mind as the horror unfolded.
I was getting ready for work with the Today show on my TV when they broke away to show the smoke coming out of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. As Today show host Katie Couric started describing a plane hitting the tower, I stopped and looked at the TV and thought, “That’s odd, pilots don’t usually make that crucial of a mistake.” As I stood watching the TV, the South Tower was hit. I immediately realized this was no mistake.
Being in the news business, my staff jumped into action to watch as the events unfolded and prepared to localize the story in whatever way we could. It was tough because everyone was in a state of shock and feared Fort Rucker could be in harm’s way as well. After all, if these terrorists were bold enough to attack the Pentagon, what military installation would be next?
My heart broke for days and months after as I watched story after story after story unfold of those bold first responders and innocent victims who perished in the aftermath, leaving behind children, spouses, mothers and fathers, siblings, family and friends to mourn their unnecessary deaths.
Pastor Leon Adams was the keynote speaker at the Patriot Day Ceremony last week. He worked for two months after 911 as a counselor and law enforcement chaplain in New York City.
Many times during his speech he had to stop and gather himself because the emotion of what he saw and experienced during that time is still overwhelming. Every time he stopped, I had to turn my head to keep the flood of tears from breaking the dam and spilling down my cheeks. I guess I didn’t realize until then how raw and real the emotions still are 19 years later.
Several people have posted on Facebook over the weekend how they wish our nation would go back to how it was on Sept. 12, 2001. We were united against the enemy, our churches were full, hugs were plentiful. We were the United States of America. What has happened since then?
Rep. Barry Moore also spoke at the ceremony and reminded us we are in a spiritual war. Pastor Adams followed that up by saying we are in a battle for the soul of our nation and 19 years later we’re deeper into that battle than we were in 2001.
Now the scenes on TV are of cities burning, first responders being shot, looting and businesses being destroyed by anarchists determined to destroy the greatest nation on earth. Who are these people and why do they want to do this?
Instead of being in church, there are people today standing outside a hospital in Los Angeles where two deputies are fighting for their lives after being ambushed shouting for them to die. What in the world? How did people forget the value of life? For anyone, any life, whether they be black, white, yellow, red, old or young?
The anarchists we see destroying our cities today have not chosen God as their Lord. They are being driven by evil and don’t think for a minute that evil doesn’t reside in Enterprise or New Brockton or Daleville as well. It just takes on a different form from what the anarchists are doing. Evil is rearing its ugly head all over our nation. It has been growing for years in our country because we’ve taken our eyes off what’s truly important.
I go back to the way Pastor Adams ended his speech by quoting the psalmist. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people who he has chosen for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
My prayers today are that God will drive evil out of our towns and that this nation will turn back to Him. Otherwise, our inheritance is lost.
Caroline Quattlebaum is co-publisher for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are her own and not the opinion of the paper. She can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.