Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You

when the world stopped turning on that September day?

I was working at Pizzeria Uno in Elm Grove at the time. I started work at 8AM, like I usually did. I was a prep cook at the time, working in the back of the house. We had a feed of the jukebox, so I didn't hear anything that was going on.

Around 10AM, when the servers started arriving, I'd go out to the front drink station to get something to drink. The servers were all at the bar, as they usually were. Today, though, something was very different. Usually, they were watching The Price is Right; kind of a goofy tradition, but it was fun. Not today, though. Today, I walked out to the bar to find CNN on the TV. When I asked what was going on, they told me; somebody flew a plane into the side of the World Trade Center.

I had to get back to work, but we had a TV in the back of the house, near the mananger's office, which was tuned in to the news for the rest of the day. I would stop back for updates as I could. That night, I went down to First Assembly of God in Kenosha, WI, to hear Steve Hill of the Brownsville Revival speak. We had been planning the trip for a few weeks, and decided that in light of the events of the day, there was no place else we'd rather be than in a church, praying for our country. To this day, I remember one of the men in our church telling us that his brother was a manager of a floor of an office building near the WTC, who had gotten one of the last calls going out, only to tell them he was OK. It had been hours since anyone had heard from him. Hours that seemed like eternity.

In the days that followed, I got on with the business of life; going to work, going to church, that sort of thing. But I knew that our country would never be the same. Some time after the attacks, I was going through some pictures I had taken on a trip to New York in February of that year. In among them was a picture of the Twin Towers with the sun setting between them, that I had taken from New York Harbor. We had gone on a dinner and dancing cruise, and took plenty of pictures. In light of what had happened, it was poignant, for lack of a better word.

Seven years later, I sit at my desk at home, having come home from two classes at MATC today, getting ready to go to work tonight. In some ways, it seems like a long time ago, and in others, it seems like only yesterday. I hope to make it back to New York City someday, and see where the towers once stood.

I will always remember, the eleventh of September, when our world stopped, and our country changed forever. Tomorrow, we can get back to the elections, the political issues we debate so often, all of that. For today, let us remember what happened that day, and remember those who lost their lives. Let us remember those who gave their lives in defense of our country, and pray for those who are still defending us at home and abroad. And let us pray, and work, and hope, so that such a tragedy never befalls us again.

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