On the afternoon of September 10. 2001, I hopped on a flight from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, traveling to attend a quarterly meeting of sales and marketing managers of the company that employed me. Arriving in late afternoon, I picked up a rental car and headed to the hotel. I freshened up and joined the meeting group at a very nice restaurant for dinner and a social hour. My company was a great one to work for. Our meetings always included a fun evening the night before and this trip was no exception. We had some fun and laughs and enjoyed great camaraderie over dinner, knowing we would get down to business the next day.
In the morning, we gathered at eight thirty sharp to start the meeting, each of us expected to give a fifteen minute summary of performance and any issues noted to open up the day. Just as we had kicked off things for the day, the secretary to our regional vice president from her office down the hall yelled out almost as if in terror. We all stood and then were told to stay put, that our leader would be back momentarily. When he returned he was ashen, then he rolled a TV in on a stand and turned it on. We were all numbed by what we saw. It was the scene of the burning first tower after plane number one plowed in. He told us we were free to watch if we liked, but the meeting would be postponed until another day and that we needed to make whatever arrangements necessary to get home since the planes were now grounded nationwide. Those of us with rental cars would need to drive home and turn the car in there. I continued to watch and as the second plane plowed into the next tower, we all then knew for sure that this was a deed so evil that we previously couldn't even imagine it.
About an hour later, I called home and my wife asked if I knew what was happening. I told her yes, that our meeting was cancelled and I'd be driving home. I departed shortly after the call for home. It is a long and very boring drive between far north and far south Florida, yet I wasn't bored on that day, I was in a state of numbness and almost disbelief as I listened to the non-stop reporting on the radio. Then I learned of the third plane crashing into the Pentagon and reports were coming in about a fourth plane somewhere in the skies that was thought to be coming for the White House. That, of course, turned out to be the one that crashed in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania when some brave patriotic passengers offered themselves up to save the White House. They knew they would not survive regardless and dedicated those last moments from another crash into a major symbol of America in Washington.
Along the way home, I made two stops. One for gas where even the cashier had the TV on full blast and later, for a bite to eat at a fast food restaurant. While slowing eating, I watched all of the replays of what had transpired that I missed and shed some tears sitting there. I wasn't the only one and the restaurant was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. Leaving, I listened on to the radio and realized that my numbness came from feeling hopeless and I knew what I needed to do.
I stopped, thought for a minute and prayed. I prayed for the souls of all who were called that day and prayed that whoever was involved in any way with those who did this should be punished as well. Then I asked God to help me open my heart to the Spirit and recognize that the only hope I had, that the only hope our nation had, was through our Savior. I remembered what I learned many times before that evil will always be with us on this earth until the King of Kings returned and I asked Him to hasten that day. Now I know He will come to banish evil in this world at a time of God's choosing, but I hoped it would be soon. And I still look forward to that day and I hope you do, too, for that is the hope of the future.
Now, for those of us who are politically correct and want us to forget the past and the horror of 9-11, I say hogwash. But instead of saying never forget, I think a better choice of words is always remember. Just like the Holocaust many years ago, the carnage committed by evil in New York eighteen years ago should always be remembered. Evil doesn't stop because we stop talking about it, it stops when we take the steps to end it. We must never give up our fight against evil or we will be overcome. God bless America and may she ever be free. 9-11 wasn't a case of "someone doing something," it was a case of evil men perpetrating mass murder against innocent Americans due to their hate. And as I said once before, it is really just as simple as that.