Never Forget


I tried to come up with something special for this day. A story, some kind of poem, or even some new song lyrics. I just wasn’t able to pen anything fresh. I can usually tell after a few minutes of staring at the blank screen whether or not it’s going to happen. Well, it didn’t. I ended up with nothing but memories.

9/11 was one of those events where you remember every single thing about that day. Where you were. What you ate for breakfast. Possibly even what you were wearing and every single detail of each conversation you had with people. Every moment is seared into your brain. For me, it was the same way when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. I was in school when one of our teachers ran in with the devastating news.

These are events that alter history. They tear through the fabric of time and leave scars that may never heal. They create stories that our children and grandchildren will study one day in a classroom.

It was a Tuesday morning. We lived in Corvallis, OR, and I worked for Pepsi. The previous day, I had just started training to be a route driver. I climbed out of bed after having a very strange experience during the night. Around 2 AM, I awoke with a churning inside my stomach like none I have never experienced before or since. Dread washed over me in waves. All I could think to do was pray. I prayed for everyone that came to mind. My family, my friends, my co-workers. I didn’t even know what to pray. I just asked God for protection over them all.

My initial thought was that something horrible was going to happen in the small town I grew up in, Franklin NC. When I turned on the radio in my car that gloomy morning, I knew why I had been praying.

I rushed back into our apartment and flipped on the television. A scene of horror greeted me, and I sank into a chair. It was one of the most horrific events I had ever witnessed in my lifetime.

I didn’t want to be late for work, so I tore myself away from the news and headed on in. Obviously, it was the focal point of all conversation that morning. That early, most of the people I worked with weren’t exactly lively, but that day was so different. There was a sadness that clouded the Pepsi plant. You could see it in each face and hear it in every voice.

We made sure the truck was loaded and pulled out to start a day full of deliveries. We listened to the radio the entire time. We couldn’t speak when they announced the first tower was crumbling. I wanted to rush home and hold my wife and little girl when they described the second one falling.

We worked through our route in a state of numbness. I remember one stop was a local newspaper. We walked in and started toward the back where the vending machines were located. I noticed that everyone looked at us strangely. Even Sean, the guy training me, said something about it once we reached the lunchroom. While we were determining what they needed as far as product was concerned, one of the paper employees walked in. He said they were all on edge and just wanted to make sure we were truly from Pepsi.

Everywhere we went that day, people were frightened. That, and deeply moved by the grief and tragedy befalling our nation. It’s something you wish could be wiped clean from the deep shadows of our memory, but yet, it’s also something we don’t want to forget. We could never forget.

I’m not into politics at all. I’m not pro-government. I’m not anti-government. I’ve watched countless videos attempting to prove that 9/11 was an “inside” job. None of that matters to me. What does is the fact that people lost sons and daughters that day. They lost parents and cousins. Brothers and sisters. Best friends. Grandparents. Uncles. Aunts. The list goes on and on. Brave men and women rushed headlong into the smoke and debris desperately trying to find survivors. I’ve watched so many documentaries over the years, and I’m left wrecked at such loss and devastation.

It’s time such as this, I fall to my knees and thank God for the many blessings in my life. My wife. My two children. My mom. My job. It’s too easy in this life to gripe and complain about everything. The Bible actually calls complaining a sin. I make it a point each morning to wake up conversing with my Father, thanking Him for another opportunity to represent Him on this earth. Time is short, folks. We have no idea when Jesus is coming back. We have to live as if it could be at any moment. Take a few moments today to just stop, get into a quiet place, and talk with God.

Today marks 13 years since the events of 9/11/2001. It’s hard to believe. Wherever you are right now, hug someone close to you. Tell them how much you love them. Never forget that our lives are but a vapor.

Here today and gone tomorrow.