Do you remember where you were? Do you remember what you were doing on September 11, 2001? It was my second day of class at Concordia Theological Seminary. We had just finished our first class of the day: Lutheran Worship. It was 9:55 am and the bell was tolling for Chapel to begin in 5 minutes. We were making our way up from the building to the Chapel. Those of us coming out of class went about our day like it was ordinary: we were talking, joking; everything we would normally do. When we arrived at the steps of the Chapel, the mood was somber. We heard students talking about a plane crash in New York. One plane had struck the World Trade Center. Shortly after that, another plane struck the other tower. Finally, both towers had collapsed. We were speechless. Everything in our lives were forever changed at that moment. Tears started to flow, even from the manliest of men. At that moment, no one adhered to the statement that boys don’t cry. Cry we did.
Rev. Richard Radtke from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne was the preacher for Chapel. (His sermon can be found in CTQ 65:4, p. 297-298.) He always preached at the opening of the quarter. That day, he threw his sermon out the window and tried to give to all of us there some ounce of comfort following the morning’s events. Following Chapel, President Wenthe dismissed classes for the day. We all returned to our dorms or to the Student Commons and our eyes were fixed on the television. We saw over and over the planes crashing into the buildings. We saw over and over people jumping out of buildings to their death, only to save themselves from being burnt alive. We saw the towers fall, again and again and again. Little was said. What needed to be said? A tragedy had happened like no other in our nation’s history. We sat and watched as the events unfolded.
Six years later, the pain is still real. The horror is still real. What happened six years ago today will forever be engrained into our minds. To those who lost friends or loved ones, our thoughts and prayers are with you. To the nation, God Bless America!