In honor of the upcoming anniversary of 9-11, Constantine shares his memories of that day – Burkasrugly
My eyes are spent with weeping;
My soul is in tumult;
My heart is poured out in grief.
For vast as the sea is your ruin;
who can restore you ?
Lamentations, Chapter 2
September 11, 2001 started much like any other Monday morning. I was running slightly late for work. About five minutes after I arrived my wife called to tell me an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers. I quickly walked into our conference room and turned on the TV. It became readily apparent that it was no small plane but a full sized commercial jet. In about ten minutes literally as I was watching a second jet came barreling at full speed into the second Tower with devastating results.
Most Americans instantaneously came to the same conclusion within in a matter of seconds. Our nation was under attack. In less than hour another airliner slammed into the Pentagon. Jet fuel exploded into a hellish cloud of burning, scorching flame. Next there was a report of another airliner crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Perhaps, it was on its way to destroy the Capitol. But the attack of brave Americans who knew they were signing their own death warrants brought down the fourth plane.
Rumors were abounding at that point. Perhaps planes as guided missiles were going to attack the Sears Building in Chicago and the TransAmerica Building in San Francisco. There was a false report of a South Korean passenger jet that had been hijacked and then supposedly crashed in Canada. Mercifully some one in the Bush Administration had the intelligence to shut down and ground all the commercial flights in the United States. Rumors continued to abound because of the of the overwhelming confusion of the day.
But one thing was not a rumor. The Two Towers collapsed. I will never forget the sound of the buildings pancaking floor by floor. It was all over in seconds. All that was left was a smouldering, burning pile of wreckage that resembled the nether regions of Hell. We initially thought the death toll would be in the tens of thousands since on a normal day about 50,000 people worked in the two buildings. And it would have been higher except for the brave and noble firemen and policemen who rushed into those buildings as every one else was running away.
I was stunned as were many others. About 4:00 p.m. that afternoon my phone rang. It was a member of my church informing me of a prayer service that night at the church. As I walked into the church a lady from my Sunday School Class said to me, “You were right.”About a year earlier I had told the disbelieving class that some day soon we would have an Islamic terror attack on the U.S. that might kill a hundred or more people. My prediction turned out to be woefully inadequate. “I wish to God I had been wrong”, was my reply to the lady who had remembered my forecast.
The minister’s sermon that night infuriated me. It was nothing more than politically correct platitudes about not rushing to judgment and forgiving the fiends who had precipitated this “disaster”. That day was not a natural disaster. It was a massacre, it was an atrocity and certainly it qualified by all the Geneva standards as a war crime ! I have never had so much trouble controlling my self in a church. I wanted to stand up and yell at the top of my lungs, “God forbid, stop this utter insanity ! Give us comfort. Just tell the simple brutal truth! Put an Amen on it !”
Then after church I hung around hoping to speak to the minister in private. In walked a young thirty year old man holding a boy and girl by their hands. The eight year old boy was shaking uncontrollably. I had only witnessed this reaction in dogs that had been beaten savagely by their cruel masters. This kid was literally scared out of his wits. With tear-stained eyes he looked up at me said, “Mister, do you think they will crash a plane into my house?”
“I promise you”, I said, “I will not allow them to harm you.” The father requested me to pray for his family. Placing a hand on his shoulder and the eight-year-old boy’s shoulder I requested that the Christian God give them peace and courage in this terrifying time. I thought this is America and we simply cannot let these Muslim savages do this to our children. About this time the minister, the religious professional, came rushing up. “What going on ?” he intoned.
“I have already taken care of the problem”, I replied with cold fury in my eyes. “The time for praying is over. Now begins the time for action.”
Four months later I raised my right hand and pledged to protect the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. At the tender age of 52 I finally found a reserve unit that would take me.
Since that terrible night I have never seen the little boy who was trembling so convulsively. But hardly a day goes by when I do not think of him. Now he must be at least nineteen. I think I have fulfilled my promise made to him.
O God, steel our hearts and strengthen our arms as we continue Your work of driving evil men, who murder and frighten little children, back into the hell holes out of which they have slithered. AMEN !
COURAGE, the virtue without which all the others meaningless !