We recently recalled the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Over the years I have read and watched many things about that day; I’ve visited the 9/11 memorial and museum. So, as the day approached, I really didn’t want to revisit that awful day. Despite that I found myself watching a National Geographic program called “9/11: One Day In America”…. a new documentary series that focused on some of the survivors of 9/11.
I have to say it was an excellent series. It showed the humanity and heroism of so many people. They didn’t hide the fear and anguish and faith of the people. I was struck by how ordinary people came up big in such a horrific and surprising event. I was touched how those in great crisis called out to God…”Sacred Heart of Jesus help me… the Our Father… Jesus help me….”. So many didn’t allow the paralysis of fear to cause them to stop.”
I remember one story of a lawyer in the tower who was ready to stop, to quit, to not go on, yet a fireman would not let him stop…” don’t quit, don’t stop, you can’t stop, keep going…” They made it out of the building right before it collapsed. Several years later it showed the man giving a speech at his daughter’s wedding…at one point he shared his story and then invited up the fireman to the front where they embraced. This brave man would not allow him to quit and because of that, he was at his daughter’s wedding……it was a touching scene.
I took away many things from that documentary… normal people with extraordinary courage and love and kindness. Most of the stories we will never hear, but I was so struck by the humility of all who did share…no bravado and hype or macho.
One thing that I hope will stay with me is that “we need each other”. We need each other in danger and crisis and in the everyday. We need someone to tell us to not quit… someone that will not allow us to quit. Whether it’s “not quitting” in fighting against an illness, not quitting in praying for our family and friends, not quitting in fighting against an addiction, not giving up in following the Lord.
And we need to be that for others. We need to be by our friends and family and not allow them to quit. If we don’t quit, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will make it home…home from the danger and trial of everyday life, and one day home to heaven. May God bless all the heroes of 9/11 and may he bless us with the courage and grace to be there for one another in the days to come.