10 years ago, almost to this exact moment that I'm writing this, I was in my 2nd period sophomore Biology class. I don't remember the lesson we learned that day.
I remember my Biology teacher checked her email and then rushed to the television at the front of the room. She turned on ABC, and we---a group of 25 15 year olds---watched reporters announce in horror the awful events of that morning. We watched planes crash into the towers. The only sound in the classroom was the television. 25 rowdy 15 year olds sat quietly, our young, immature minds trying to understand the significance of it all. I had never been to New York and had no idea the World Trade Centers even existed. I knew the events of the morning were bad, but I didn't know how bad. But when I watched my biology teacher, a peppy and thoughtful woman, sit watching the TV screen with her hand over her mouth and tears in her eyes, I understood that I was a watching a terrible historical event that would change our culture forever. I don't remember her saying anything to us except when the bell rang. She muttered something about never forgetting this moment. And I haven't. I don't remember the rest of the day in school. I remember the photos and the news reports. And I remember the lesson I learned that day in Biology--a lesson far more important than I could have ever learned in school: People are capable of extreme evils. I remember being so confused. I had read about evils committed during World War II and the Sarajevo conflict, but I never thought it could happen here, in the place where I lived.
As I reflect on this moment 10 years later, my attitude is different. I am still confused and upset by the events, but today I will not focus on the evils. Instead I will pray that the victims' families would be able to forgive the people responsible for murdering their family members. I will lift up the service members who have spent time and are still serving in the middle east working to make sure another attack doesn't happen. I will think about our cousin Kecia and her husband Scott--who both spent time in Iraq. I will think about their daughter Addison who is spending a year away from her daddy while he is again, serving our country overseas. Today as I reflect and listen to news reports on NPR cover the memorial services, I feel incredibly blessed that I live in the United States of America.