I will never know, nor have I thought about, why I didn't turn on my television that morning or even the radio for that matter. We usually put on the news to listen to either the traffic or the weather to help us plan our day. This day was problably rushed to get Em and myself off to school, I suppose. Ben and Phillip were already on their way into town. I remember getting to school that morning and hearing bits of chatter about a plane crashing into one of the twin towers, maybe the pilot had a heart attack or something. Little did we know at that time it would be the 'or something'. Our priest, at the time, Fr. Benny immediately went into action and handled the situation of calming fears the only way he ever handled situations, with prayer. He hustled everyone in school, all 500 of us, into Church to pray the rosary. I have to say, at the time I still didn't know what was happening. There was speculation about being under attack but no one knew for sure what was going on. With everything going on in our own heads we, the teachers, principle and other adults were trying to present an aura of calm for the children, and for one another if truth be told.
It is what came after that stays with me the most. We came together as a nation to pray to God for guidance and to help us make sense of this senseless situation. The inevitable question was asked, "why did this happen?, how could God let this happen?" As a religion teacher I was asked this question countless times in the days to come. I had answers, but not the politically correct answers anyone wanted to hear. How do you explain to someone who knows a loved one is lost to them forever that in God's merciful love Good will come out of this evil. Sadly innocent people can be the consequences of someone else's stupidity. We can not even begin to question why someone lived and why someone else died that day, or any other day for that matter. I don't even have the adequate vocabulary to put this into words. I can't begin to speak for God. I can only offer prayers to ask for the wisdom and strength to go on and to appreciate the life I have been given to help others to go on.
We all have a part to play in God's plan of salvation. As God's people we are called to help one another participate in this plan. Those people that fateful day were sacrificed for a greater good. That day was a wakeup call to our vulnerability as a nation and to the evils that abound in the world today. How many times have we noticed that it takes a tragedy to get something done or to grab someone's attention? This was one of those times. We turned to God because we knew this was bigger than we could handle on our own, we came together as a nation to support one another as a country. We waved our flags, we wore red, white, and blue, we sang the National Anthem and God Bless America every chance we got. God is not a controlling God, but a loving God. He loved us as a people so much He gave us free will to make free choices. The caveat to that is that the choice is to be a loving choice for the common good, not necessarily for own personal good. Sometimes the choice we make for the good of all may be quite a sacrifice for us personally. Those men who drove those planes were only thinking of themselves, or in their convoluted minds what they believed to be for their own good. It was a choice they made that affected many people. As a Nation for a while we overcame this evil for the common good.
I have to believe God was with those people who died, He was giving them time for prayer and for many He allowed them time to say goodbye to loved ones. God is with each and every one of us to help us through our worst moments and to lead us back to Him. We must find comfort in that so we can put one foot in front of the other and continue on this incredible journey He has planned for us. We can not begin to imagine what goes on in peoples minds to be so full of hate and anger, but we can find solace in the fact that God loves us and wants the very best for us. That best is to be with Him in Heaven. We are not meant for this world, this world will pass away, we are meant to find our ultimate end before the Beatific Vision, standing in God's Glorious Presence. May God Bless us as we remember the significance of this fateful day, let us never forget.