Editorial: What's on your mind one year later?

By John Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--Last September The Journal reported on Church of God members directly involved with the terror attacks on the World Trade Center's twin towers and on the Pentagon. In that same issue Adrienne Johnson, who escaped from one of the towers, shared with us her harrowing story and made the statement, "Nothing will ever be the same."

In the days after the attack, President Bush called for a national day of mourning and prayer. The Journal also reported on the participation of many Church of God groups in that sober event.

Now we approach the first anniversary of that fateful day. A pensive nation wonders how to deal with the anniversary of the horror.

How will you commemorate 9-11?

Late-breaking routine

Some would love to see an all-out attack on Iraq staged on Sept. 11, 2002, to commemorate the day. Others would prefer a quiet 24 hours of reflection and mourning.

New York City will see a dramatic, scripted and timed program at ground zero. Someone will read out the names of those lost; someone will recite the Gettysburg Address; some will sing.

Most of us will probably break our routines on that day to varying degrees. No doubt we'll wrestle with feelings, thoughts and emotions.

We can be thankful that the tragedy wasn't worse, that one of the planes did not hit its intended target, that the towers were not filled to capacity with people.

We can reflect with pride on the brave men and women on flight 93 who took matters into their own hands and said, "Let's roll!"

We will mourn all whom the terrorists killed. We will grieve for those who now live without a mother, father, son or daughter, brother or sister or friend.

Sept. 11 will bring back the heartbreak of remembering how Ted Olson called his wife, Barbara, on her cell phone and talked to her for the last time, both knowing what the suicide hijackers were about to do with her plane over Washington, D.C.

Many of us may feel an increase in our level of anxiety, wondering if the day will be a time for terrorists to try to strike again. We may look with awe and amazement at the repaired Pentagon and the World Trade Center site, all cleaned up and ready for new construction.

Whom to blame

The nagging questions will remain: How could this have happened? What kind of hate could have fueled this action? Why didn't someone warn us? Why weren't we prepared?

The politicians will continue their blame game while reassuring a jittery public that they have everything under control.

Any who believe God was punishing the United States and He was making a wake-up call will be disgusted. After all that has happened, where is the call for repentance of individual and national sins?

If repentance had flooded the land like the wave of patriotism after Sept. 11, I think we could feel a little better about this country's future.

Last year I found it helpful to put some names and faces on America's disaster. I remember corresponding with Gilford Monrose, a Church of God Seventh Day member from Brooklyn, N.Y., who was stranded in a New York subway for hours.

Besides Adrienne Johnson, Church of God member Daisi Swint escaped the twin towers, and Kathleen Ford, the daughter of church members, was stationed at the Pentagon but narrowly escaped injury.

The news media made the events look like a Hollywood production. But knowing about and communicating with these people made it personal.

A year later I still think about these people and pray for them, knowing that thousands of survivors are still trying to come to grips with their memories of what happened.

We will forever remember the bravery of the policemen and firemen, many who paid with their lives.

I hope that as we commemorate 9-11 we are not overcome with fear or hate.

Let's plan on that date to mourn and reflect. Let's use this opportunity to look to God for peace, safety and forgiveness.

Comfort in the feasts of the Lord

Many church members are just about to observe the Day of Trumpets. I hope that observance helps us realize that the real battle we fight is a spiritual one and that, when Christ returns, a government that can protect its citizens will be in place.

The Day of Atonement can give us time to reflect on the reality that Satan is the real suicide hijacker and Christ our only real hope.

During the Feast of Tabernacles I hope we can get a feel for a time of peace and prosperity in a world in which violence, hatred and the many other evils are only a memory.

The August 2002 issue of The Journal includes many photos and several other graphics, besides the Connections advertising section. Don't forget to subscribe to the print version of The Journal to read all the news and features previewed here.

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