In some ways it feels like yesterday, in others, a lifetime ago.
It's been 10 years since that horrifying day that, for at least the next 90 years, will be known simply as "nine-eleven."
I don't have any direct connections with those who lost loved ones that day.
The closest involvement I have is a coworker whose son-in-law worked in one of the World Trade Center towers and, thankfully, was at home that day.
But as any patriotic American warm-blooded, non-hate-filled, human, my heart breaks for the suffering that so many endured that day and over the past 10 years.
I recall the day vividly.
I was in a week-long technical training class.
My supervisor at the time called me early that morning to turn on the TV. I was busy getting ready to leave for our training class so I hadn't turned on the TV. When he said two planes had flown into the World Trade Center in New York I thought he was joking.
But he insisted, so I turned on the TV quickly, and couldn't believe the sights. It felt like a really sad movie.
There were about 20 Air Force personnel from the local base in our training class, and shortly after we arrived at the training facility, we got the call that the facility was placed on lock-down. No one was to leave.
We had the TV on in the facility and everyone was absolutely stunned. No one could concentrate and there was obviously no point to try and proceed with the class material, so we just watched the live news coverage.
Finally we got word that we could leave the training facility, so we went to lunch at a restaurant nearby. The place was packed but no one was talking.
The mood was extremely heavy, like the proverbial wet blanket. Everyone was watching the numerous TVs throughout the restaurant. All of us were wondering whether this was the end or if there would be more planes or further attacks.
The entire world seemed to stand still, watching helplessly as the death toll reports rose. Nothing seemed important any more.
Football season was only a week or two underway, and all of that seemed so trivial, as it should be, in light of what had happened.
I doubt I will forget the details of that awful day for as long as I live. The images and events seem deeply ingrained, even for someone as far removed from the situation as myself, much the same as I would imagine those who witnessed the Pearl Harbor tragedy or fought in wars.
It is difficult to understand how any human could be so filled with hatred that they would take the lives of so many others. It is truly the very face of evil.
I am speechless when I even try and explain how someone could possibly think that behavior like this is in any way honorable.
Yet for all the hatred and evil present on that day, there were even more stories of heroism, self-sacrifice, selflessness, triumph, persistence, giving, and sharing from so many following the attacks.
In times of suffering, sadness, grieving, lost loved ones and tragedy, there is only one source of comfort and understanding.
GOD is the only One who can help us during these times.
It is from Him that we learn that this type of behavior is evil, and that it will be punished.
It is from Him that we learn that there is Someone who cares what we're going through even when we might feel alone.
It is from GOD that we learn that, despite the bad things which happen in our lives, the world is not out of control.
While we don't understand why GOD would allow this type of tragedy to occur, we know that suffering causes us to turn to Him.
GOD teaches us that life is short and unstable, and for the child of GOD, there is the promise of something much better once their time in this life is finished.
As difficult as it may be to accept, it is not our place to question why GOD allows tragedies to happen to people.
This thing we know for sure: Tragedy can turn into a blessing if the result is that we are brought closer to GOD.
For all those who suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, my prayer for you is that you have found (or will find) peace and comfort in GOD, and that in doing so GOD will turn your tragedy into triumph.
To all those brave men and women who acted heroically and selflessly in response, I offer you my admiration and thanks. I pray that if I ever find myself in a situation like this that GOD would give me the courage to imitate your example.
GOD bless America.
America, be a blessing.
Related reading: "On 9/12 We Ran to God" by Max Lucado