As the decade comes to a close in a few days, there will be only one thing that truly defines the decade: the fatefule events of September 11, 2001.
Her is my recount of where I was and what I was doing on that fateful day in September.
But first, let me give you a history of that whole year so that you can understand the change of the mindset of everyone, including myself.
The summer of 2001 was a rather interesting one due to the fact that I went on a mission trip for the first time as a Christian entitled “Houston 2001.” (Now known as “The Houston Project.”) I did it with the youth group that I was in at the time.
I was also about to enter highschool. I was slated to attend a local private highschool in my hometown: Houston, TX. The week that school started was a rather innocuous one – very innoccent. The entire class went on a retreat and we played a game called “Romans and Christians” – a Christian version of the classic game of chase.
A few weeks before, I remember my father and I were looking for camera equipment and we stopped by the local AudioVideo Plus store on Richmond ave (now an adult megaplexx place, ick!) and we just looked around the video store and the old videos. It was a rainy, but sunny day in Houston.
Then 9/11 happened a few days later. I went to class as usual and, according to the timeline of events (Houston is on central time), I was in World History Class because classes started at 7:45 am. But nobody told us about the event at first. The next class I had was a typing class and another fellow classmate, a boy, came into the class and exclaimed to the teacher that 3 planes had crashed. Knowing this boy to be obnoxious, I ignored him and thought that this sorta thing, plane crashes, happen everyday.
But little did I know that what I was about to hear in the announcements period on that Tuesday was a very life-altering event for everyone. The next period I went to announcements and sat down next to my friend, Brittan Braddock, and the principle, a native new yorker himself, made the shocking announcement that the world trade center had been hit as well as the pentagon by muslim extremists.
The whole room went into a state of disbelief and questioning. The next class period, women’s chorus, was no exception either because the teacher stayed silent in regards to helping us understand what happened in New York.
The rest of the day was filled with lots of talk about what happened, along with the two types of Islam. They even had televisions out broadcasting the news. Everything that day was cancelled. I remember that I was a little glad that handbell practice was cancelled because I was starting to not like handbells. So I was picked up by my father and left the school.
When my father picked me up, he told me that there was a call from the church that we attended saying that the wednesday youth group meeting was going to be cancelled and that there was going to be a church (or citywide since this particular church is a megachurch – not like Joel Osteen’s Lakewood.) prayer meeting. It was pretty crowded.
Friday, I went to my first highschool football game. It was a time of fun, yet still remembering what happened.
Sunday was a rather busy day. I had to go to two separate churches, a local lutheran church to sing and then Houston’s First Baptist because I wanted to go to my home church. At the lutheran church, we sang Great is the Lord by Michael W. Smith and Lord of All by First Call. It was such short notice that we didn’t change our performance and, like the rest of the congregation, we were in equal shock and disbelief. By the time I got to First, it was a pretty packed congregation. The day was a rather big blur but I do remember confiding in my friend Shannon and telling her that I did want to cry. She told me it was okay to do so.
The following week I went to see the Avalon “Oxygen tour” at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. I and my friend were late to the concert, but we made it just in the nick of time for Avalon to take the stage with their then-upcoming single Wonder Why. Many things suprised me that night. For starters, neither I, my father (who was also in attendance), nor my friend were searched in any way. I was also suprised that Avalon did not show any footage or even mention the terrible events that had happened in the US during the song Picture Perfect World. Instead, during that song, they showed a video montage of the band doing work with Compassion International. I personally thought that this gesture was a little conceited and selfish – like they were giving glory to themselves and not Jesus.
However, looking back, they were playing to an audience filled with families and maybe those families were looking to escape, but at least maybe one of the members, such as Janna Long or now-former member Cheri (who is from Rhode Island – nearby), could have said something like “Tonight as we sing this song [Picture Perfect World] our hearts, minds and prayers are with those that are suffering tonight in New York City, Washington D.C, and Shanksville, PA.” Other than that, it was a good concert. I still have (and wear) my Oxygen Tour tshirt.
Other than that, the year was a normal one for me. I had a good Christmas – I got my very first bass guitar that year as a gift along with a new Out of the Grey cd. I experienced my first real crush on a boy named Owen – a senior no less!
A year and 4 months later, I got to visit Ground Zero on a choir tour of New York. It was a very moving experience being at that site, as well as a sad one. We all cried when we spontaneously sang Ein So Lord Jesus Quickly Come and another song called Sanctuary. Everybody cried while at that site.