My husband and I stopped in Shanksville, Pennsylvania this summer on our way home from vacation. This isn’t your typical vacation spot, but our son had encouraged us to stop and see the temporary memorial site from Flight 93, which crashed during the attacks on September 11, 2001.I have to admit my initial response was a little mixed. There didn’t appear to be much to see, an open field and a few signs posted along a chain link fence. Propped against the fence were some gifts, poems and letters from visitors. I heard a lady explain how there were thousands of such items in storage from visitors over the years and that more would be displayed once the permanent memorial building was erected.
There was a temporary building on the site which served as the museum and an information center. There were several signs around the building which walked us through some of the events of that horrible day. I noticed notebooks along the wall which others were reading. Jim and I joined in and the words we read were heart breaking.
One of the notebooks contained a list of phone calls made from Flight 93. No conversations were listed, but it showed the connections they made or who they were trying to contact. Many of the hostages called loved ones. I can only imagine the conversations which took place. Other people tried to call loved ones at multiple phone numbers, but they never received an answer. The calls which truly broke my heart were the calls that indicated the line was still open at the time of the crash. I cannot imagine speaking to a loved one in the middle of a hijacking, and hearing the conversations, the commotion, and ultimately the crash of the plane. My heart just ached for the friends and families of these victims.
Another notebook contained typed transcripts from the flight recorder. Those were also very difficult to read as you began to understand exactly when the hijackers overtook the jet and the events which followed. Every time they were victorious, including the crash of the plane, they were praising Allah.
We left the building much more somber than when we entered. I was holding back tears from all I had read about the horrible disaster. Then God blessed us with such a peace just before we pulled away. Shortly after Jim started our vehicle, the radio station played, “Jesus Loves Me” by Alabama. To us, it was God’s way of saying that He loved the heroes of Flight 93.
I don’t know how many of the passengers and crew knew Christ as their Savior, or how many cried out to Him in those final moments before they crashed. I do know that God feels the pain of the loved ones left behind. Some of those loved ones never had the opportunity to say goodbye on that fateful day, while others listened to the horrible disaster from afar and could do nothing but pray.
I also know that life is short and we never know when Christ plans to call us home, or what the circumstances will be. I pray that I remember to show and tell my friends and family how much I love them on a continual basis. I also pray God will use me to help reach the unsaved. I hope all the heroes from September 11, 2001 were able to see God’s Light in those final moments.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
(1 John 1:5 NASB)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 NASB)
Where were you on September 11, 2001 when disaster struck this country? Please share as we remember the heroes of 911. I was at work when my co-worker, Michele, alerted us all of the first crash into the twin towers. Needless to say, not much work was accomplished that day as we all watched the disaster take place.