Where were you 10 years ago? You know, Sept 11, 2001? Were you an adult, or a kid? Were you in grade school, grad school, at work? Me? I was in Cameroon, Africa. I had only been there for about a month and was still trying to figure out life across the world with no friends or family around. I had made fast friends with many of the other single missionaries, but there were still many adjustments. One thing you have to know about Africa (at least at that time, 10 years ago) even with email, information was still a bit delayed getting to us. I remember going to the compound where the school was to check my email and communicate with my family. I started hearing something had happened to the Sears Tower. Yes, that’s right. Then, I was told that actually something had happened in New York City. Others said the Sears Tower in NYC had been bombed. And I was really getting confused because I knew the Sears Tower is in Chicago. I was terrified! Was the city or the building right? I remember thinking if it was the building that means the terrorists had flown over OH to get there and my family could very much be in danger. I remember sending a frantic email to my parents asking to tell me EXACTLY what was going on. Since they had been missionaries in Africa they understood the issues with communication. I stayed glued to the computer until I heard back from my Dad. He told me everything that was happening and assured me my family was fine, just watching the news. By the end of our evening in Cameroon we were able to see footage (not live) of what had happened in NYC. It was horrifying. I mean, we’re Americans, we’re impenetrable, right? Apparently, no we weren’t. I had never felt so far away from my family. All I wanted was to be with my family and not a world away. However, there I was with people I had only known for a month and away from family.
I have to be honest and say after a week or so it all kinda left my mind. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have TV and you really don’t have access to TV or even radio. Not that I forgot something had happened I just wasn’t reminded of it daily as those in the US were. It wasn’t until I went home that summer (almost a year later) and wasn’t met at my gate by my family did I remember what had happened and saw first hand how it had affected things.
The way I experienced 9/11 was different than my family and friends in the US. I’m sure we all have our stories and we all remember where we were that day. May we never forget that we are NOT impenetrable and may we never forget the mercy God showed us as a country on that day 10 years ago.