A decade has come and gone…
I don’t even want to try to count the number of times I have been asked “Where were you when you heard about September 11th?” With the decade anniversary coming up this Sunday, there is a bunch of discussion about it.
It was a rough day for me, and whether or not I like it, it was a time stamp on my life. It is a day I will never forget. Not because you tell me to remember, and have cheesy shirts and stickers and a crazy political agenda. No,I remember because that day changed my whole life.
2001 was a year of change and transition for me. I wasn’t really living for God as much as just calling myself a Christian. On July 7th my mother got married to Satvinder Kalley. This was a monumental shift in my life. Prior to this, we lived, for as long as I was able to recall, in my grandparents shore house on the Jersey Shore. (No not the guido-filled dump they call Seaside and MTV has glorified. The real Jersey Shore) My life was rather simple. During the winter I went to school, and during the summer I was at the beach.
When she married, we moved up to a town called Garwood which was closer to NYC. This was because Sat worked in the world trade center. You have to live near the place you work. That September I began high school. So September was already a challenging time. Just prior to September 11th, Citigroup moved Sat out of the WTC into an office on wall street.
Lets move to that monumental day. I was sitting in my spanish class with Sr. Gonzalez when the actual terrorist attack began. I remember when they made an announcement over the loudspeaker. Mr. Taylor (asst. Principal/Football Coach) Said, “I know that many of you are concerned about the attacks on the world trade center and if you need to talk to someone, please come down to the office and the guidance counselors and other staff people are here to talk with you. I know the images on the Television are scary and disturbing, but we are here to help you and we will get through this.”
Without blinking Sr. Gonzalez went right back to teaching spanish, which caused a bit of a riot in the classroom. Suddenly we were hit with this announcement about attacks in NYC, and he acted as if nothing was going on. The bell couldn’t ring soon enough. I needed to get to my next class to find out what was going on. Next was history with Dave Fosco, (in hindsight this seems fitting as we were seeing history unfold in a way no book could ever explain.) He happened to be my favorite teacher, and perhaps sadly, my best friend at the time.
So we sat, motionless, no one was speaking, I don’t know if any of use were breathing even. The news kept marking the time. 8:46… this kept swirling in my head. I knew that this was the time that Sat normally got into the city, the path train dropped him off at the WTC station and he walked a few blocks to his office.
I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to watch, I didn’t even want to think. I had just entered the best time of my life. I had a Mom & A Dad. We lived in a nice home, and had money. For the first time in my life I wasn’t poor. But none of that mattered, because Sat was somewhere, and I didn’t know where. It had to be a cruel trick. My life had really gotten good and suddenly it all seemed like it was falling apart.
Luckily somewhere in this time my mother came and picked me up from school. She decided it was best for me to be at home with her. We didn’t know what to do or think, we were just praying and hoping for the phone to ring, or the door to open. (this was before we had cell phones)
The phone did ring, it was my aunt in Pennsylvania telling us to turn on ABC and fast. So we did, and when we did, we saw him. standing there covered in ashes, with burning papers falling all around him. He brushed the dust off himself and kept walking. It was a moment of peace in the midst of Chaos. Literally and figuratively. For us it was the knowing that he was alive, but in reality it was that everyone around him was racing in a panic trying to get away and he just walked as if nothing was even happening. Later he told me, “I knew that God didn’t allow me to die when the attack happened, and that he would protect me until I got home. That knowing allowed me to be calm and make decisions that got me home.”
That day is etched in my memory, not because of videos on television, but because of a feeling of fear that I had never know before. But I saw firsthand God answering my prayers. You can say what you will, but that day changed me spiritually. It set me on a path that I am still on today.
I saw first hand what terror can do. I saw something more than just terrorism. I saw spiritual warfare manifesting itself in the natural. It wasn’t about the hijackers themselves. It was more, it was a war that has been raging for years between God’s people and Satan’s people. The hordes of Hell inflicted a spirit of fear and terror into the American people. They gave us reason to doubt.
That day changed me. I saw what evil was. It wasn’t some guy in a turban, though The Muslim ideology lends itself to terror. It was terror itself. I saw into the dark pit, a place I never want to see again.
Isaiah 61 never seemed more important to me. Here it is in the ESV:
Isa 61:1-11 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; (3) to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (4) They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (5) Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; (6) but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. (7) Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. (8) For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. (9) Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed. (10) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (11) For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
There is a war, and that day I became a warrior. This scripture is one that I stand upon. They tear down, but we rebuild. The attack, but we worship. They bind, but we set free. I had never gone on a missions trip before this. I didn’t even want to go to church. But, now I can say I have traveled the world. I have given my life to the cause of Christ, and many think I am crazy. I am not crazy, I am awake. I once slept, but then 9/11/2001 happened, and it woke me up. It hasn’t been all sunshine, lollipops, rainbows. It wasn’t always wonderful, but its real. I am living in the real world.
This Sunday will mark a decade since everything changed. Looking back I can still say everything has changed. I haven’t gone back to sleep. I haven’t forgotten. It’s not enough to have a memorial, a monument, and a moment of silence. If we really remembered, we would be proactive. We would be tearing down strongholds, breaking the bonds of fear and terror. We would set captives free. There were people I know who lost their lives in the terror attacks. Nothing I can do will bring them back, but I can work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
It is time for America to WAKE UP. I am interning with Warring Dove Ministries, and we are currently on the WAKE UP TOUR! traveling around, sounding the alarm, and waking the people. My Friend John Natale is beginning his Awaken America tour this month. Awakening is a theme on God’s heart. Awakening is more than just good meetings with laugher and healings. (Not saying those are bad) Awakening is a shift. It brings people out of slumber and to alertedness. Are you Alter, are you on the wall as a watchman ready to sound the alarm?
10 years ago it took 19 Terrorists to awaken America. But I believe The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord wants to awaken us. If we do not change our course, we will see more terror, more disaster, and more fear hit our nation. WAKE UP PEOPLE!
I apologize if this has become a rant, but I got a little stirred up while reflecting and writing.