My buds and I were playing doubles tennis that morning. I feel quite certain my team was winning! We heard a big noise overhead, one we’d heard many times that morning, so we didn’t even look up. It was the jet engines of a large commercial airliner screaming into our ears as it landed. You see, we were less than a mile northwest of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest in the world.
It was a normal Tuesday morning in late summer in Grapevine, Texas. Yet that was just an illusion. Nothing normal existed that morning. Because immediately we noticed another jet close behind the first one. Then another…and another…and another! DFW airport has four north-south runways and two northwest-southeast runways. As we looked, all six runways had jet after jet approaching from the north and northwest! The two-minute barrier between jets had been reduced to one minute. We looked up the flight pathway to see dozens of jets attempting to land. Hundreds of planes landed in just a few minutes!
Our match became history. All we could think of was, “What is going on?” We rushed to our cars and turned on our radios to listen to the news. It was the morning our world turned upside down, September 11, 2001.
A jet had struck the World Trade Center in New York! I used to love the cheese cake on top of the South tower. What could this mean? Had some pilot passed out at the controls and crashed into the tower? I arrived at home just in time to turn on the TV and watch, horrified, as another jet flew low and relatively slowly… and struck the other tower! Then we heard about the Pentagon attack, then the plane crash in Pennsylvania. As a nation, we went into shock!
Our church met that evening, to pray together and to just BE together. We wanted to try to make sense out of what had happened, but we couldn’t. Evil had announced itself that day. We were scared. We wanted to see people that were important to us. We needed each other.
Let’s not forget how we felt that day eighteen years ago. I don’t mean the hatred toward the perpetrators. I’m talking about our desire to reach out to those people important to us. We still need each other.