Topic: A reason you are ‘here’… 9/11/11: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
I thought it uncanny and eerie that I should read about this today…it being the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy. Last week in my perpetual hunt for books I came across several accounts of 9⁄11, no doubt because the anniversary was coming up so they were encouraging people to read the first person accounts and stories surrounding that day. There are a lot of first person accounts from survivors and from those who watched and tried to help. BBC wrote an article asking the question “Is there a novel that defines the 9⁄11 decade?” and sums up the novels and stories that have come out of 9⁄11 since it happened. I ended up downloading to my Kindle “102 Minutes” by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn which has had incredibly high ratings about the collapse of the world trade centers towers and “Who they Were” by Robert Schaler, which discusses those who ‘jumped’ from the towers during that day and others which forensics teams struggled to identify; which has received mixed reviews. It is widely supported that “Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9⁄11” is also one of the best books about what happened as well.
Simple perusing of the news pops up hundreds of accounts from survivors all of whom struggle with memories from that day, people, friends, family they lost and why they survived…why them. Artie Van Why wasn’t actually in the towers but in a building next to them, him and co-worker ran out to see what happened then ran toward the towers to help amidst falling debris and people. He says that he always thought that when you fall from high enough you are dead before you hit the ground…but he realized that these people were very much alive holding their arms out as if to cushion the impact as they fell. When the towers collapsed they all ran…he made it, his co-worker did not. [his story here].
Survivors of any terrible experience grapple with survivors guilt…the perpetual question of why me? Why did I survive. I am sure soldiers go through this trauma as well after coming from a fight where they saw fellow soldiers fall and die. The documentary Restrepo deals with this in their portrayal of a group of Marines who were sent to the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, The Korengal Valley, for deployment…not all came back.
Survivors of the holocaust oftentimes will tackle the emotions and convictions that come with being the only survivor in their family and having witnessed such atrocities enacted on them and their friends. I wrote about this in an earlier blog after having visited the Holocaust museum in D.C.
Though we all might not ascribe to the same belief I am sure many of us wonder about our purpose for being here, why we survive things while others do not, how watching someone die makes you realize how infinitesimal your life can seem and how easily it can be snuffed out. There are those of us that ascribe survival and such as “God’s providence”…we have a purpose in life and we will not be taken, not die, til that purpose is completed. This is the general thinking. But as soon as that purpose has been accomplished–poof…time for snuffing and many accept that, although the prospect of death is still hard to grapple with. Not so much because it’s ‘death’…I think many people are more terrified of ‘how’ they might die than actual death itself.
In the end, for those left behind or those that survived, the question remains…were you saved/spared for a reason? Do you have a purpose to accomplish greater than yourself though you may not know it?