Daily Devotion:The Day Before September 11th

Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan reflects on the faith-based principles we can draw from the day preceeding the World Trade Center attacks.

By Edward Grinnan, New York, New York

As appeared in

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Matthew 28:20

September 11 is a date whose imprint on our national consciousness will take generations to fade. But it's September 10 that stays with me somehow. It's just the other side of a line of demarcation, perhaps the last day of an era.

September 10, 2001, was a perfect late-summer day, like the infamous day that would follow. New Yorkers went about their business, absorbed by the daily trials and rewards of life in the city. I took a good friend to lunch for her birthday. We groused that the restaurant had run out of the crab cakes we'd wanted to order. How could they? The baseball pennant races were on, important enough to make the front pages of the tabloids. The last thing I did that day at work was to make plane reservations for a business trip the following week. I didn't give it a second thought. Why should I?

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Since then, nothing has been quite the same. But on that September 10–on any day of my life, really–I could not possibly have known what the future held. I am not given that knowledge. That's what stays with me about this day, haunts me even–the complete uncertainty of tomorrow.

Yet I am given a knowledge far greater than the ability to see the future. I know, with the utmost certainty, that whatever unlooked-for events the next day may bring, God is with me, today, tomorrow and forever.

Lord, Your love and protection is the one true thing that I can count on. It's always ahead of me, guiding my way through all uncertainty.

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Mr. Grinnan,

Like you I have no way of looking into the future and being prepared for what is to come; but also like you I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with me, today, tomorrow and forever. And again like you if it wasn't for the love and protection of our awesome God I would truly be afraid of the uncertainty of the future. God Bless you in your work and in helping other people put their feelings into words.

This article really nails it. So true! I don't remember too much about Sept. 10, which was a Monday, but I remember very clearly Sun., Sept. 9, 2001, and I even have photos taken on that day. My husband and I took our Standard Poodle, Sandy, to Tyler Park in Richboro, PA and had a very pleasant time. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I always remember it, as Mr. Grinnan says, as a turning point, a line of demarcation (as he put it). It seems my whole life changed after that.

I had an appointment at a client's house on the morning of Sept. 11. I was getting ready for it when I heard on the radio about the first plane hitting the Tower. I put on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit. That's when I realized it was a deliberate attack. My husband and I both left for work that day, but on the way to my client's house, I heard about the attack on the Pentagon and the plane going down in Pennsylvania. The feeling that we were under attack was so unfamiliar and so frightening. I didn't know what to do, so I continued to my client's house. She and I watched on the TV in her kitchen as the Towers came down. She said to me, "For the rest of our lives we will always remember that we saw this happen together." I remember standing outside of her house and looking at the gorgeous, crystal clear blue sky, feeling the warm sunshine and hearing the birds sing. Everything was so serene, so quiet and peaceful. It was surreal to think of what was going on in NY, Washington D.C. and even in my own state of PA.

Exactly a week after September 11th's terrorist attack, I had a milestone birthday (traumatic enough in the best of circumstances!), and four months later came the death of my beloved mother. Several months after that, Sandy was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to be put down. A very difficult couple of years, not only on the national level, but for me on a personal level as well. Things are better in my life now, but nothing will ever be quite the same for any of us since Sept. 11, 2001. Although with God's grace we have avoided a repeat of the horrors of that day, the latest developments in the Middle East serve to remind us that we can't take anything for granted. The evil is still out there and very much alive.

Living in the DC area very near the Pentagon the day impressed upon me with all senses, including smell. Our world changed indeed. At a prayer service the next day at our church I remember being the only one who called for a response of peace and not war. Was I angry? Of course? Shaken, fearful and horrified were among my emotions. But what struck me, besides the tragic, innocent losses, was that I'd shared a bubble with so many Americans used to freedom. Now we were drawn into the reality so many in the world suffer, today, tomorrow and even the Sept. 10s of the grace of our God. We cannot forget all of God's children...all innocent all praying for the Sept. 10th we felt we deserved.

Dana: Thank you for these words from a higher perspective and a big heart! What the terrorists are doing are inexcusable in any way, but it is in people like you, who look at an enemy and see that he is a child of God too, lies the hope for peace on Earth! The Lord commanded Peter to stop using his knife in His defense. For to repay violence with violence does not befit a follower of Christ, who called us to love our enemies and even on the cross prayed for those who persecuted Him, "for they don't know what they are doing"! Aren't most of the terrorists like that too?ignorant and deceived by a misguided devotion? They are in need of our prayer, not hatred or armed forces! For violence will only sow new hatred, and fuel a vicious circle of never-ending revenge and retaliation. Only Love conquers evil, only forgiveness can bring peace. A Lord who died for the lowest sinner so his sins may be forgiven calls for us to do the same to people who transgress against us! Even "us" as a nation! May there be more and more people who think like you, who spread the good news of Christ's birth: "peace on earth, good will toward man!" In Christ' name, Amen

Please pray for our friends who are traveling to Spain today and then onto a cruise ship for other ports and sights. Please pray for God to watch over them and bring them home safely to family and friends. I know I shouldn't worry as God is in control and He will watch over all of us for whatever happens in the days to come! I pray that Ann and Jerry will have a wonderful time and not encounter any problems! In Jesus name I pray! Amen.

Passing along some words of mine written after 911 . . . .

Forever Changed

In the shadow
of two towers,
a military fortress,
a hallowed field,
we stand.

We pause,
we pray,
we remember . . .
and wipe away
our collective tears.

Hearts cry out, “Why?”
as we weep,
we mourn,
we do not understand.

Too many brave souls,
too many innocents,
too many of God’s children
were taken that day.

We consecrate memories
of that dark day
and dedicate our lives
to tomorrow
in the hands of God.

Together we reach out,
with hope and a will
that even the forces of evil
cannot destroy.

And, as we recall
that day of disaster,
we will never
be the same.

Kay Haggart Mills

Thank you for this Ms. Mills. Your words speak truth to the evil of that terrible day. The end was really a beginning of a long journey for my wife and I. The hole in our hearts began early on to be filled with acts of God. They would come just when we were at the end of our wits with grief, worry and a hopeless feeling that our lifes were changed, and would never be whole again. And as we journey again this year to NY to visit our Andrea, we know that without God we would not have been able to continue.
May he continue to heal this hole in our and so many families hearts.

Gordon Haberman
Father of Andrea Lyn Haberman
WTC1 Born to heaven 9/11/2001

While I had no direct connection, my son was working in Washington DC that day. I, like all Americans shared the terror and heartbreak even though my son was not near the Pentagon. May you feel the nearness of God as you treasure the precious memories of your Andrea. Kay Haggart Mills

The sad and frightening thing is that more than a decade later, the same group of murderers who claim to be fighting in the name of their god Allah are larger and stronger than ever and are still bound and determined to destroy the "great Satan" of America. I cannot believe that any god would require its followers to do such atrocious acts. I know that our God would never ask such of us. He only asks us to love one another. That's the difference between us and them.

I don't remember too much about the day September 10 of that year but oh how I remember that day the 11th. I was at school and the first thought was how to protect our students and to help them understand what had just happened. I then was totally fearful when I heard that young men could be drafted. My son fit all of the qualifications that was sent out on the news. Of course, I truly wanted to be with my husband, daughter, and son in our house where we could experience this horrific act together. How absolutely selfish I was on September 11th. We were ok in North Carolina and I had to refocus on NYC and put my prayers to better use. Thanks to God our Father that He was there for all of the prayers that were uplifted during that sad, sad time.
These memories will fade but never go away. We all experience terrible situations both in our personal lives as well as a whole group. But God will always be there to guide us, take care of us, and bless us in ways we can't imagine. This is my verse for everyday. Psalm 56:11 In God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid.
No matter what happens good or bad He will always be there for us. ALL OF US each and everyone. Praise God for His promises.

you are so right Mr Grinnan... that day changed life as we know it forever...but hopefully it has forced us to appreciate
our loved ones, e.g...our husbands, wives, children. parents more & not take them or anything for granted..get us to pay
attention to the simple yet awesome things in life...sunrises..sunsets...beautiful blue skies...etc..etc...

thank you for giving your readers a chance to convey their thoughts & feelings about it...

thanks again...Mr. Grinnan............kathy wygant

Thank you, Edward. Unlike you, I have no recollection at all of the day before, which after reading your devotional, makes me feel a little regretful. It actually would be wonderful to have some remembrance of the day before our world seemingly changed forever. But, for me, the events of 9/11 have taught me to pay closer attention to every day happenings. It's impossible to remember everything that happens to us on a regular basis, but it's important to take the time to store away special moments of each day so we can always have something happy to look back on. May God continue to bless all of those who lost their lives that sorrowful day, for their families and friends and above all, for all those who risked their lives to save others.

Your devotional today made me think and ponder on the importance of one's "today".
Thank you for your words that allow a person to ponder and reflect.

Thank you, Tom and Lisa.

Thank you for this devotional and the reminder that God is with us Today, Tomorrow and Forever..My son was working in the DC area that tragic day and felt the earth shake,,He was safe but a day forever etched in our lives. Sept 10th is also his Birthday and was celebrated with the unknown of what tomorrow would bring. I am grateful for the present moment in time that God has given me.