Today in Church we talked about self-reliance and food storage and emergency preparedness. It was really good for me, because for the last several months, and especially after Katrina, I have been wanting to do better at having my family be prepared. So last Sunday I ordered some food from the Cannery…used my scrap budget. A small sacrifice for something I know is extremely important. Besides, if I was as prepared for emergencies as I am for scrapping then we’d have more than enough.
Kind of fitting that we focused on that today, as it is the fourth anniversary of 9-11. Sometimes I think of it and it seems so long ago…it isn’t really something I think about much anymore. It has been pushed aside due to life. My life. But today I wanted to remember that day a bit more, and try to recapture how I felt, and some of what I learned. At the very least, I wanted to blog about my experience on September 11, 2001.
We lived in Provo…right on 9th East. My husband worked at BYU, just down the street. My oldest daughter wasn’t quite a year old yet. We were having my husband’s best friend and his girlfriend over for dinner that night and I needed to go shopping for a couple last minute things for the salad. So, I took him to work and I stopped at the Creamery on 9th (used to be Kent’s market) to get those last few items and then planned on heading home to clean the house and babysit my baby nephew.
When I walked into the little grocery store, I found it a little odd that they were listening to talk radio. I decided that probably nobody really comes shopping at 8:00 in the morning, and they really liked that particular talk show or something. But as I walked through the store, putting things into my cart, I started realizing what I was hearing. People jumping out of the World Trade Center? Planes crashing into buildings? Fire at the Pentagon? What????? I couldn’t make any sense of what they were saying, and I honestly thought it was something like Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. I really wasn’t too alarmed, because everything I was hearing was just too improbable….it all had to be somebody’s idea of a joke.
But then one of the stock boys came up to me. He had tears in his eyes, and he asked me, “Can you believe what is happening?” I clearly remember answering, “What is happening? I can’t understand what I’m hearing.” He then explained to me, quite emotionally, his understanding of the situation. Which, of course, at 8:00 am was still laden with unfounded rumors, like the White House had been bombed and the President was missing. Shocked, I hurriedly paid for my groceries and drove home, listening to talk radio all the way.
We didn’t have TV back then…we couldn’t afford to pay for cable, and our TV had terrible reception as far as local channels were concerned, so I just continued to listen to the Doug Wright show on KSL 1160. Of course, my husband called me to find out if I knew what was happening. He didn’t really work much that day…they all just sat in the breakroom and watched the television, only getting up if the phone rang. I think all of America was on hold that day. My sister-in-law brought my nephew to me and stayed and listened for a while. When she left, I just sat on the couch holding him while my toddler sat next to me…not moving, just listening. Listening to the horrible thing that was happening to our country.
After my nephew left, I drove to my mom’s house with my daughter and watched the news there. I watched the twin towers collapse over and over and over again. I was horrified…glued to the television….needing to watch it just one more time in order to believe that it had actually taken place.
I also remember being deeply touched by the many nations around the world who played our national anthem and flew our flag that day. Because this was not just an attack on America, it was an attack on the world. I will never forget a woman in France who declared on the news, “Today, we are all Americans.”
Now, it is just “something that happened a few years ago.” Something terrifying, certainly, but the horror has been covered by time. And life. And now our country is dealing with something else that is just as horrible in its own right. It makes me think of how the scriptures say that God always sends “something” to make the people remember Him. And if we don’t even remember what happened, how will we remember Him? And if we aren’t even following the commandment to be prepared, how can we say we are remembering Him? We can’t. We need to remember, to not get so caught up in life that we forget the repercussions of 9-11, or Katrina, or whatever reminders we are sent…because if we forget those, we are essentially forgetting God.