Sunday, September 11, 2011


i remember someone telling me on this day ten years ago, that i would remember exactly where i was when i first heard about the terrorist attacks. i don't remember who that person was, but they were right. 

i was working in the copy center in the library at byu {we called it the fishbowl}. i arrived at 7am and was working with one other girl, but it was a pretty slow morning. slowly, as the students started to arrive on campus, we began to hear bits and pieces of what we would later piece together as multiple terrorist attacks on the united states. 

"did you hear about the american airlines crash this morning?" someone said.
then, "some american airlines pilot crashed his plane ino a building in nyc this morning," another explained.
and then, "did you hear about the world trade center? one of them caught on fire." someone else said. 

the rumors began to build and my co-worker and i realized this was more than we initially thought. we immediately began searching the ever-so-slow internet {dial up modem}. we were honestly downloading one or two pictures every half our or so and were trying to get information from new patrons, but no one seemed to really know what was going on. we learned that a plane had crashed into 1 world trade center at 8:46 eastern time, and a short 15 minutes later, as the world watched, another plane hit 2 world trade center at 9:03. a half hour after that - the pentagon. and at 10:03, a field in pennsylvania.

my shift ended at 10:50 - just enough time to walk across campus to the marriott center where the weekly tuesday devotional would begin at 11:00. thousands of students and employees filled the marriott center and together we sang, the spirit of god. i'm not sure who the planned speaker was, but what we got instead was a calming and peaceful message from our university president, merrill j. bateman, and a special prayer meeting just a few hours after the attacks occured.

when the devotional was dismissed, i walked back across campus to the jsb where my religion class was to be held. classes had been cancelled for the day, but i had nowhere to go. the professor had pulled the screen down from the ceiling and turned the tv on, so i sat alone in my dark classroom watching horrifying images unfold before my eyes. so much smoke and fire. people jumping from the buildings. chaos all around. and then i watched the buildings collapse. i saw terror in the eyes of those trying to outpace the smoke and debris headed their way. 

i couldn't think of anyone i knew who lived in new york city at the time. and i wasn't a world traveler, so to be completely honest, i wasn't even familiar with the world trade center. but as the years have passed, i've met a handful of people who experienced that day firsthand. i've read interviews. i've watched documentaries. i've listened to broadcasts. 

i've watched a country despair and mourn and then turn around and unite. i hope today was a day of peaceful remembrance for those who experienced the horror first hand - to see the positive changes that have happened to strengthen our country despite attacks that were meant to cripple.

ten years later, i've scarcely been able to internalize that morning sitting in the copy center at byu. but i do know the Source of peace is more powerful than its enemy. no matter the scare tactics or what the future holds, i can be confident in a loving heavenly father to direct my life and the lives of others in the path of peace.

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