This was the Impatience of Jobe that I wrote for the first anniversary of 9/11.
On September 11, 2001, I was asleep at the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center. I could hear my sister's voice on my answering machine in another room telling me to turn on the television. By the urgency in her voice, I could tell something awful had happened.
On TV, I saw a split screen view of smoke billowing out of one of the towers at the World Trade Center and smoke rising from the Pentagon. I recognized both structures immediately and, without knowing details, I knew that whatever happened was horrendous and affected us all.
Ten years later, I won't sit here and wax philosophically about the state of our country - and our world. We all know that. I'd like to think I am a better person today than I was on September 11, 2001. In a lot of ways, I truly believe I am. But sometimes I worry that I have become more jaded with time and have a lot less faith. And some days I'm not really certain how to rectify that.
So as I remember that horrendous day today - my generation's "date that will live in infamy" - my prayer is that peace on Earth will truly begin within me. It's not a solution by any means. But it's a start.
ANNIVERSARY OFFERS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
“It was a day when thousands of lives
were lost and thousands of heroes were born.’’ - CBS
anchor Dan Rather
Where do we go from here?
That’s the question many Americans were asking
themselves Wednesday while observing the first
anniversary of the terrorist attacks on American soil.
I asked that question and many others on Wednesday
and the days prior. I’ve been asking several questions
over and over since Sept. 11, 2001. Some I’ve found
answer for; others I’ve found may never be answered
because some things in life are meant to remain
In theory, I would have rather gone to bed before
midnight on Tuesday and slept until Thursday morning.
I didn’t want to relive the excruciating feelings I
had that awful Tuesday. I’d felt the pain that seared
my heart beginning to scab and heal a bit and I didn’t
want to reopen that wound.
In reality, though, I knew I would have to face the
day. Ignoring it, I understood, wouldn’t lessen the
pain nor would it erase the facts that evil had
attacked the very fiber of our beings and belief
systems as Americans.
I hadn’t planned to watch any of the TV coverage of
the anniversary. I bought three blank video tapes and
decided to record for posterity a sampling of each of
the three major networks’ coverage at varying times
during the day, ending with NBC’s “Concert for
My plans to sleep in and get out of bed in time to
go the memorial service at the Corinth Coliseum-Civic
Center were changed when an early-morning phone call
from a good friend who simply wanted to hear my voice
on a difficult day awoke me. Little did she know,
hearing her voice helped me face the day a bit easier
Not being able to go back to sleep, I did what I
did the year before - I turned on CNN. The network was
covering the reading of the victims’ names at Ground
I was able to keep the tears at bay until
17-year-old Marianne Keane, whose stepfather Franco
Lalama was killed in the World Trade Center, took the
podium. With a voice strong and unwavering, the teen
shared what she had read at his memorial service.
The portion of Keane’s speech that hit me hardest
was when she discussed loss. “Things, people, they
go away sooner or later,” the teen said. “You can’t
hold them any more than you can hold the moonlight.
But if they have touched you, if they are inside of
you, then they are still yours.”
Sage words from someone just embarking on
In preparation for this Sept. 11, our news staff
spent the prior month talking with Crossroads area
residents about their recollections of 9/11/01 and how
life had changed for them since.
My assignment was to talk with children and teens
about the anniversary. Rather than talk to them
individually, I chose to submit surveys to two groups
of students at two different schools. One simple,
common thread ran through every survey: hope.
Despite the fear, confusion, turmoil and
heartbrokenness these students have been feeling for a
year, they are hopeful about the future.
Few, if any of them, want to forget what happened
in New York City, in Washington, D.C. and in a grassy
field outside Shanksville, Penn. But they want to move
on in life with hope for a bright tomorrow even in a
world that sometimes looks bleak.
My goal for Wednesday was that as we remembered
those patriots who were sacrificed in the World Trade
Center, the Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight
93, I would look for the same hope that teens in
Corinth and Alcorn County Mississippi, as well as
their counterparts all over America, are looking for.
I’m ready for us to put aside our pettiness, our
selfishness and our differences, learn to love each
other for who we are and what we are going to become,
and truly become what we have given mostly lip service
to for the past year (and years prior to this one).
Let’s truly become united in honor of September 11,
2001, and in spite of those who tried to divide us. As
it’s been said by more than one person, they may have
torn down our buildings and killed our comrades, but
they certainly didn’t conquer our spirit.
I just have to believe they only increased it.