The Watchman

The Watchman

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9/11 Remembered

The Healing Fields
Sandy, Utah
September 11, 2011
On 9/11/01 I was starting a new phase of my life - owner and operator of my own vending business. I had spent most of the night before loading up my car with the soda, candy and chips that I would need to deliver to my customers. I was in a hurry because I needed to get the boys to school and my 1 month old little girl to my parents' house before I went to pick up the few items I was still missing. Rick called to me to come up and watch the Today show.While we were watching, the second plane hit. We were in shock.

As I went about the day, I was able to talk about the events with so many of my customers. Everyone was in shock and there were many tears. By the end of the day I was so numb and I didn't think I could shed another tear. Then I saw my baby; my boys and Rick came home. We hugged and cried and were grateful for each other.  Although it had been hard to be a part of the shock and grief of so many, it truly was representative of what was going on all over the country.

What I most remember in the days and weeks following was the sense of unity and patriotism that came over the country.  So many people we knew enlisted in the military and many of our friends who served in the Reserves were activated.  People seemed to care about each other more.  There was an increase in faith and a desire to be more Christlike.  How I wish that those feelings of unity and humility remained today.  President Thomas S Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote a beautiful article about this for the tenth anniversary that appeared in the Washington Post.  You may use the link to read the whole article, but here is an excerpt that I found very touching:

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, our family listened to and watched many memorial programs together. The boys shared their feelings of that day with their sisters. It was amazing to me that they too can remember where they were when they first heard the news and began to understand that our nation had been attacked in such a horrific way.

We were doubly blessed to be with my parents and listen to my dad remember Pearl Harbor.  He recounted how many of his neighbors in Ogden at that time were Japanese, but were as anxious as any to join the military and serve this great country that they so loved.  They did enlist and were sent to fight for their adopted country in Europe.  I find it amazing that so many continued to do so even after their families were placed in interment camps.  I think that the love and dedication to the United States by those who choose to live here is what makes this nation so great.

On our way home to La Verkin, Jon suggested we stop in Sandy and visit the Healing Fields.  We had done this previously in 2003 and the boys thought it might be a good experience for the girls who were so little at that time.  I was truly touched by the stories or thoughts of the individuals that died that day that appeared on each flag.  For those who have never been there, an American flag is placed in for each person who died on 9/11.  There are also flags representing all the nations that lost citizens that day and another area with Utah flags for each soldier from Utah lost in the war since.  The first year we went, Rick and I remember that this portion of the field was for every soldier lost till that point.  How humbling it was to see that now the number is so large that it has been limited to Utah soldiers.

My children in 2003, Healing Fields, Sandy Utah

September 11, 2011
While we visited the Field, our children took time to look at the cards and read the stories.  Often times they would find a connection to themselves, whether it was the name, something the person liked to do or where they were from.  Lela first wanted to see if there were any Wixoms (there weren't), but she did find one flag for a soldier from Hurricane.  The boys remembered holding flags lining the street as another soldier was brought home to Hurricane to be buried.

Hunter with Lela and Emily, July 2005
The motto "We Will Never Forget" is synonomous with the events of 9/11.  I want my children to remember not the destruction of that day, but the stories of heroism and how this great land came together.  I have always been taught that the Spirit of God cannot be where contention reigns; that contention is of the Devil.  My hope it that the hearts of our leaders will be softened, that they can do away with their bickering and humble themselves to do those things that will allow the United States to forever be the greatest nation on earth, one truly blessed by God.

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