I remember where I was.
I was in my second year of teaching, in a school where I was very happy. I think I was teaching P6.
When I first heard, I remember thinking what a terrible accident it was – I didn’t realise it was deliberate.
I remember discussing with the rest of the staff whether we should tell the children. We decided not to.
I remember crowding around the school’s TV at the end of the day to watch the footage, hearing about the second plane and realising it wasn’t an accident.
I remember watching tiny figures jumping and feeling sick with the horror.
I remember going home, and thinking that this was a pivotal point in history. And the world was changing into something darker.
A lot has changed in 10 years but I am now teaching P6s again. 10 yr olds who have never known a world without those images. I’m not sure we have moved very far from them at all. And I’m not sure that this is a good thing.
I believe we have to remember when evil happens. A society that does not remember it’s past is doomed to repeat it’s mistakes. But we must be defined by more than our tragedies – and evil flourishes when more importance is placed in remembering it’s actions, than the acts of bravery, compassion and love that surpassed it. To me, the war memorials that stand in every collection of houses in the UK – from hamlets to cities – are not simply a record of lives lost, but also of lives that held firm against wrong and transformed it. I often doubt at this time if I could be as brave as those whose names are etched.
It is easy for me to wish the anger, revenge and hatred that swirl around this date would dissipate – no-one I know was directly involved. Another memory that stays with me from this period is watching brief reportage on the BBC from the funerals of people killed on that day and being amazed to recognise an upbeat worship song being played, a song defined by it’s writer as a song of hope – these people were clearly worshipping God in what could only be the worst period of their lives. Incredible. Again, I wonder if I could be faithful enough to put aside the feelings of hatred and anger and embrace the forgiveness my God would ask me to.
In a world that perceptibly darkened on that day, some had the imagination and foresight to recognise that the symbolism of light takes us beyond our darkness and points us upwards and beyond.
At this point in history, where much of the world is at war, where great evil is still ongoing, and where even the earth itself seems to be displaying her unease through hurricanes and earthquakes …even in this time, I am ” Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength” (Habakkuk 3:18 – Message)
For what else have I ?