This past Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attacks by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. There were 2,983 men and women who died that day. It was a terrorist Pearl Harbor.
I’m old enough to remember that day and exactly what I was doing when the news came of the first attack. It was a national shock that rocked our lethargic security. It was the first time in my lifetime that the terror we had read and heard about in other nations had come to America.
In the following days, we witnessed sacrifice, unity, and patriotism as a nation, and we’ve never seen it again. We watched as Republicans and Democrats sang together, “God Bless America,” outside the Capitol building. American flags festooned houses across our nation. All of us were glued to the 24-hour news cycle to hear about another courageous story of someone helping another. We remember 343 fire fighters entering eternity that day as they gave the ultimate sacrifice while trying to rescue people out of the World Trade Center. And then there were the courageous passengers on Flight 93 fighting back and sacrificing their lives to take down the terrorist and the plane. For a brief few weeks, our churches were filled.
Like the Civil War, September 11, 2001, is a reminder that our nation is vulnerable to attack and destruction. During the following months and years, I heard many speak of the righteousness of the American cause and destiny. I joined the chorus. But let us never forget what Abraham Lincoln said, upon being told by an adviser that he was grateful that God was on the Union’s side. Lincoln said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” May we never forget this day and this truth.