Before, 8:00, the memory of this morning is a "fog". I know about 7:30 I rolled out of bed, stretched, started the coffee, and headed to the showers just like any other morning. My first class was a little ways off, so I had plenty of time. I am a bit of a business geek. In high school and college, I would wake up every morning and check the markets and hear the latest news before going about my day. Today was no different. I got back to the room and opened the blinds. My dorm room had a huge window overlooking part of the campus. It was a beautiful September day. I poured a cup of coffee and I turned on the news. Squawk Box was the most entertaining money market show on in news. The volume was down while I was getting ready so I didn't wake my neighbors from their slumber.
I took a few sips of coffee and noticed that the news anchors on CNBC were talking about a fire in a building. I turned the volume up and listened in for a few minutes. It was around 8:00. I don't remember the exact time, but the video of the smoke pouring out of the top of the north building of the World Trade Center. Anchors were talking about eye witness accounts of a plane flying low, heading straight for it. That was odd. I sat for a minute and watched as the anchors reported the event on live television trying to figure out what happened. CNBC threw to a local station, WNBC. As they were handing off, a huge ball of fire engulfed the side of the second tower. The second plane hit.
I remember sitting down on the edge of my bed, almost frozen, a little numb. I remember the feeling of the warm coffee in my hand, sitting on my palm. I felt like the entire campus was silent, and the world was on fire. I couldn't think clearly. I just watched.
The New York Stock Exchange evacuated. Maria Bartiromo described what she saw and interviewing a local New Yorker talking about the second plane heading straight for the second tower. They describe the debris falling around the street, the loud explosion, and citizens starting to run as firefighters continued to arrive.
An anchor gasps in the background as she watched the replay behind the scenes. I missed it the first time when I saw it. Mark Haines described the replay they have on tape. A small dot in the top right hand of the screen and got larger as the second plane rammed into the side of the second tower.
I felt like I had been watching all day.
I finished getting ready and walked to my class. I don't remember the class well because I hardly attended that one. I didn't want to go, but we were supposed to have a test that day. Everyone was in shock. Half the class was missing. The young teacher barely knew what had happened and proceeded with class. I think I was one of the first people finished. We left early. My mind was elsewhere.
After class, I didn't really know where to go. I walked around for a few minutes. I remember seeing shocked the faces of other students walking aimlessly by other students laughing and giggling still in the dark about what had taken place. I wandered back up to my room, turned on the news and opened my door.
The world I grew up in was gone.
The world I had planned on living in was gone.
I'll never forget that day.
14 years ago.
Now, a college grad for almost 11 years, married for almost 10 years, and a working dad, blessed with 3 little girls; today, I look back, think back, and remember.
I remember the heroes who ran in while everyone else was running out, first responders who gave their life to save and protect others. The horrific image of those who leapt from the building, rather than burn alive. I remember the soldiers and families who would pay the ultimate price in the years to come, who would give their lives destroying dictators and terrorist groups, protecting our freedom.
I also remember how things were before the attacks. It feels like that was a simpler time, one without the fog of this catastrophe and the fog of the war that followed and is still going on today.
Liberty. It is in part why we were attacked on September 11th, 2001 and why our nation was founded over 239 years ago in 1776. The battle for "Freedom" is not a new one and will continue as long as we are still here. The freedom man desires is tasted but not satisfied until true liberty is experienced in Christ. Freedom from this world, freedom from sin, freedom from our old self. Though, not a perfect freedom in this life, it's the ultimate liberty that no man can take away and this liberty is our hope.
I have never been as "into" the market as I was in those days. I had devoured books on business and Wall Street and was committed to build wealth and know what makes the economy "tick". These days, every time I turn on CNBC or watch the markets, I think about that morning. Though they are fun to think about and can be fun to work with, there is more to life than business, markets, futures, commodities, and wealth.
So, today on 9.11.2015, I am reminded again: faith, family, and freedom.