September 11: The Day I Became an Adult

Typically on 9/11 I remember how the entire day played out. I think about where I was and what I was doing. I was working for a radio station at the time, so it was a very hectic day.

Original watercolor by Mandee McDonald

This year I’ve been thinking about who I was with and what I learned. It’s a different approach for me on the 19th anniversary of that tragic day.
I’ve had this word “BALANCE” on my mind a lot lately. I would suspect many of us have because we are trying to balance so many to-do’s, so many political and ethical stances. I think “nuance” is the current buzzword for that.
I first heard about the events on the weather report while listening to the station I worked for on my way into work. The meteorologist said, at the end of his report, “By the way, the World Trade Center is on fire,” and they went to commercial. While sitting in traffic I heard that something ran into the building that started the fire. I walked into Rick and Bubba’s studio just as the second plane hit. We all watched the small TV in the corner in disbelief. Could this be intentional? I spent a lot of time in that studio that day. I learned that a couple of guys who make good money being silly on the air could quickly shift to share hard things. I
I learned that sweet and tender Roxanne (the news director) could put on some thick skin to responsibly report the facts in a timely manner. She hugged me with tears in her eyes many times that day, but did an excellent job reporting information that was hard to say aloud.
I learned that the classic rock morning guy, Tony Kurre’s brash personality wasn’t all he was made of as he put his arm around the in the break room while we watched emergency workers look for bodies in the rubble on TV.
I learned that my little job in the traffic department mattered that day, but my job as an American, as a Christ follower, and as a human being was really what gave me purpose.
I learned that the USA is not a protected bubble. There’s no such thing on this earth.
I learned that there are people who are truly saddened – empathetic – of others and there are some who have no ability to think of anyone but themselves.  And I learned that you can’t judge which type someone will be until they show you.
I learned that there is true evil in the world in the forms of terrorism, prejudice, hate, and apathy.
I was a 22 year old child when I woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001 and I became an adult that day. Did I become jaded? Maybe a little. But I lost some naivety and innocence that day. I gained a better understanding of human nature, divine intervention, and the power of people who act in love.
Today I also mourn for those who were lost. I know the pain of the anniversary of the death of a loved one. IF you lost someone you love that day, I am so sorry. I know you miss them. I know today is extra hard for you. We see you and we pray for you.
I am always curious to hear where you were that day, but today I want to know what you learned. How did it change you? We were all changed.