Twenty Years Later

As I sit here late on a Friday night, the night before the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks there is a lot going thru my mind.

As we’ve weathered the last 18 months of our Covid year(s) I have finally grown weary of most of the rhetoric online and in the media, the fighting I see among friends, and the general rancor and invective that seems to permeate most corners of life these days. I’ve been spending more time off-line (listening to audio books, more to come!), on purpose so that I don’t end up in dark places in my mind. I’m already grumpy enough as it is, and I’m trying to live life such that I don’t say things I have to apologize for the next day. You’re welcome.

My thoughts this week have turned to that fateful September morning in 2001 when I watched in horror in my family room as the Twin Towers collapsed and the world changed forever. It would be a few weeks later that I found out someone I knew had died in the North Tower that morning, leaving a wife and three teenaged children widowed and orphaned. His death, and all of the deaths that day have always caused me to stop and reflect on mortality and to ask myself if I am making the most of my days.

In the days following September 11th we saw our very divided nation come together to mourn and serve each other. It was actually quite refreshing. I think we all wanted to take this tragedy and, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, make something new and better for ourselves and our children.

I saw this meme on facebook yesterday and I liked it because it’s the truth:

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'I MISS 9/12 I would never ever want another 9/11, out I miss the America of 9/12. Stores ran out of flags to sell because they were being flown everywhere. People were Americans before they were upper or lower class, Jewish or Christian, Republican or Democrat. We hugged people without carıng if they ate at Chick-Fil-A or wore Nikes. ON 9/12, WHAT MATTERED MORE WAS WHAT UNITED US THAN WHAT DIVIDED US.'

What unites us in 2021? Can we find commonalities? Is there a way to be September 12th people and see past the red, the blue, the elephant, the donkey, the TBM, the exmo, the progmo, the DezNat, to see the Child of God in the people around us?

Last year I invited my friends to find acts of service for September 11th as a way to commemorate the day, rather than joining in the many “where were you … ” posts on social media. Later I was told September 11th was designated as a national day of service at some point.

I had an opportunity this week come my way to help an old friend from my BYU days. Our lifestyles have diverged over the years since we left BYU, but I never felt like I was “released” as her Visiting Teacher, so we’ve kept in contact over the years. She needed some help, but was afraid to ask for fear of being judged, but reached out to me. I made some phone calls and her situation was taken care of that afternoon. I was so very thankful that she reached out to me for help, she was thankful for the help too. I invite you to find some one to help on September 11th. Pray for opportunities, and take them when they come.

In my social media feeds tonight a link to a speech Pres. Merrill J. Bateman, the president of BYU back in 2001, made on September 11th, while we were still in the fog of war. You can read and listen to the whole speech at BYU Speeches HERE.

From the talk, titled, Hope for Peace:

The best news of all is the good news. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though we live in troubled times—and prophets have indicated that there will be turmoil in the last days—it is possible for each of us to feel peace, to have the peace of the gospel in our lives. We believe that is the most important message we have for the world. We are part of the greatest peaceful mission this earth has ever known. The 60,000 missionaries and 11 million members of the Church have the only message that gives hope for peace. And peace will not come in the lives of people until they have internalized the message of the Master

How have you internalized the message of the Master, Jesus Christ? Especially over the last 18 months of the Covid Wars? All of us have so many heavy burdens right now. We all need Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives and our days. Will you share that message with those in your circle of friends? Even those who are members of the Church?

Finally, out of the bad, there can be good and great blessings. I’m sure you’ve probably seen this short documentary on the boats that came to resuce people from Lower Manhattan that September morning. It is inspiring, and I think is the true essence of who we are as Americans. Let’s serve each other. Let’s try to get along. Let’s fill each other with Jesus Christ.

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About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

4 thoughts on “Twenty Years Later

  1. I remember reading years ago about how the quickest way to bring a group of people together was in defense against the threat of a common enemy. I’ve thought a lot about that over the years. It’s what happened after 9/11, but it’s also what is happening today. The lines in the dirt are just different. This isn’t God’s way though. In Jesus’s teachings, there are no enemies. Fellow wo/men can’t be enemies. Just neighbors. That is so easy to say and so hard to do.

  2. Joyce, thank you.
    This is a concept that’s been going through my mind for a few years now. I see the two major parties growing further apart, more rancorous, more hateful.
    People are being demonized, as it is easier to hate a demon than another American.
    People seek salvation from government and national leaders. Ask any Trump or Biden fan just how they think the world would be better/worse without their leadership.

    As it is, 9/11/2001 united us because we humbled ourselves. We had just gone through a rancorous election between George W Bush and Al Gore (remember hanging chads in Florida?). Tragedy forced us to our knees, and we remembered for a few months that we were brothers and sisters.

    Sadly, when the pain left, the rancor returned. It reminds me of Mormon’s words regarding the Nephites of his day. They mourned their dead, but it was not the mourning of the humbled. Instead, they wished they would die, but still hang onto their swords to fight. This seems to be a growing sentiment in our nation today. People are talking about Civil War and uprisings, in both parties.

    We see members of the Church growing angry over statements from the Prophets:
    Black lives matter is an eternal principle, BYU professors must stand up for the gospel, no religious exemptions for vaccines, etc. Whether Dallin Oaks, Jeffrey Holland or our “sometimes beloved” Prophet Russell M Nelson, there are people on both sides who are angry with them.

    The only thing that will bring a long term unity is the living gospel of Jesus Christ, given to us through modern prophets and apostles. It means people on all sides must humble themselves and work united to build Zion. It requires humility, charity, and being peacemakers. There is no room in Zion for the selfish or self-righteous. These will have to remain outside Zion, fighting among themselves (D&C 45), until they are tired of fighting, and bury their weapons of war, even as the Ammonites did.

    It is only then that we will see Zion flourish. As with you, I hope to see that day.

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