Special: 10 years after 9/11

10 Years LaterThe editor invited Forthright columnists and a few others to write a single 100-word paragraph about 9/11. The following are included in the order they were received. Writers had free rein to say what they wished. May their words stimulate our reflection on this somber day to remember the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Those who develop their own god and their own religion invariably end up directly contradicting what their god and their book say. The tragedy of September 11 is direct proof of this. When devotees of Islam claim their religion is one of peace, their actions contradict their words. Muhammad himself led more than 25 attacks on his neighbors. After his death, his successors went to war among themselves and against others to consolidate and expand power. The violent acts of the Jihadists prove their continued belief of this. As Jesus said, “By their fruits, ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). —John Henson

Al-Qaeda hijackers. They had been planning 9/11 for years.  It was a murderous plot to wreak havoc. They were organized into teams. Each was led by a pilot-trained hijacker and a few muscle-men whose job it was to subdue passengers and crew. They knew how to conceal weapons, how to pass through security, and worst of all, how to coordinate their efforts for maximum effect. Satan has a devious plan, too. “Let Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11; cf. Ephesians 6:11). Only through Christ can you thwart his schemes.  —Mike Benson

God’s promise involved Sarah and Abraham. Not Abraham and some other woman. Not Sarah and some other man. But how could Abraham be blessed if he had no descendants at all? Surely if there is good reason we can do things our way, can’t we? Yet turning aside from God’s command, Abraham and Hagar brought Ishmael, a wild donkey of a man, into the world. Ten years ago was another demonstration of what departure from the truth can do. An ever fresh reminder how jealousy, strife, hatred, and trusting in the arm of flesh produces failure and much sorrow. —Oran Burt

A Memory that Will Last: I was sitting in the office on that eventful day in 2001. I am always in the office early, so much work had been accomplished. I was a participant in an on-line chat when a brother, Skip Francis, contacted via the chat mechanism. I don’t remember precisely what he said, but something along the line of “Did you hear….?” “Hear about what?” I asked. He told me. I checked online and I saw the headlines. Like others I was stunned and glued to the television for the next number of days. This was our generation’s “Pearl Harbor.” —Ron Thomas

Tragedy often elicits pondering “why,” just like Job’s friends did. Yet one of the lessons from Job involves discovering that “why” is not the important question. God never told Job why, even though the reader is informed as to why Job was suffering. While we may sometimes never know why and can waste energy on speculation, we can always know what we should do. Regardless of why something has happened, what matters is how we respond. In every situation the proper response entails drawing nearer to God as well as taking whatever appropriate steps may exist to remedy the problem. —Barry Newton

We had five children under ten that September. I’ll never forget how I held the baby and later hugged the older ones as they made their way off the school bus. I couldn’t offer them an explanation or even promise that it wasn’t going to happen again. All I could I do was assure them that we would be all right. I’m not certain of a lot of things in this world but I know, without a doubt, that evil will not prevail, and regardless of what this nation faces or what we face individually, God will never leave nor forsake us. With that knowledge, we can survive anything. —Paula Harrington

It was a beautiful Washington morning. Coffee in hand, I sat typing. “Turn on the news”, the message said. A plane had crashed into The World Trade Center. My husband and I stood speculating causes of this accident when a second plane struck. The realization that this was no accident struck like a head-on collision. Confusion and panic followed, as another plane hit closer to home. That day we lost something very dear: our sense of security. We realize now that in a free society, security is an illusion. But it is an illusion I would have preferred to keep. —Laura Tinnel

The tenth anniversary of September 11 illuminates the impact of the terrorist attacks. Insane men, armed with household tools, destroyed countless lives. The loss of the Towers, damage of the Pentagon and a thwarted attack on the White House left deep scars on the psyche of our nation. The urgency of remembrance exemplifies the open wounds that still fester. God is the only salve that heals. Hold the Lord close and hear his words that Satan is the true face of these horrors and the monster is not finished. Christ is the only conqueror who can win. Trust him.  —Richard Mansel

In Jerusalem eighteen people died when the Tower of Siloam fell, perhaps through bad design. One scholar connected it with Nehemiah’s projecting tower (3:26) and wondered if its projection caused its collapse. Then there was the Galileans’ gruesome death at Pilate’s hands. Jesus, however, teaches us to stop speculating about causes (Luke 13:1-5) and think about our own state before God. We need to change our lives. Our message should offer repentance. The great horror is not the loss of 3,000 lives on 9/11, but the perdition of souls who daily enter eternity. Including our own. —J. Randal Matheny

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