Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001, when our nation was bombed by its own planes piloted by Muslim extremists. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center while another plunged into the Pentagon and a fourth plowed into a field in Pennsylvania.

"Let's Roll" were the last words of Todd Beamer and the title of the new book by his wife Linda. Todd and other brave and heroic passengers prevented the plane they were on from crashing into The White House or the Capitol in Washington.

I would imagine that all who served, were injured, and died on that infamous day in our national history would say to us, if they could, "Let's remember what happened and make sure it never happens again."

The heartache, suffering, and misery of that day must never be forgotten. There were days of agony. The hurts and the scars remain. President Bush, whom some refer to as "BUSH 43", was and has been a comforting voice for the nation. He has also helped us to remember our national torture and struggle. Here are a few things we have learned.

  1. THAT WE ARE VULNERABLE. We are open to attack. We can be ravaged and physically wounded. The enemy can be residing in our own land and often protected by our laws. We need to be observant and remember the advice of Jesus, "Watch and pray that you will not fall" (Matthew 26:41, NIV).

  2. WE MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. We must not be careless in our devotion to duty. We are all accountable to friends, church, employer, employees, family, and government.

    Likewise state and national political and business leaders must be held responsible for the decisions they make. Dwight D. Eisenhower, President and World War II military leader, said, "A people that values its privileges above its principles, soon loses both."

    In his insightful book, "Applied Management Ethics", Andrew Sikula, Sr., Director of the Graduate School of Management, Marshall University, states: "Management is doing things right; ethics is doing the right things. Character counts." St. Paul wrote to Christians living in a very wicked city: "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (I Corinthians 4:2, NIV).

  3. WE SUFFER TOGETHER. John Donne wrote long ago, "No man is an island entire of itself; . . ." If we rejoice together, we also must suffer together. Paul, the teacher, said we are to "Carry each other's burdens . . ." (Galations 6:2, NIV).

  4. AT TIMES WE ARE HELPLESS. When we are doing our best, things can still go wrong in disastrous ways. Our wall of invincibility has been shattered. Our fears come from within as well as without.

    In one short year we have experienced bombings, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural phenomenon over which we have little if any control.

    Our nation will be safe only as long as it is a nation under God. If God's protective covering is removed, we are doomed. We know how quickly economic power can plunge downward. Our military can not save us from every enemy. Words spoken long ago offer hope for our best defense, "You won't succeed by might or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies" (Zechariah 4:6, GOD'S WORD).

  5. WE CAN DO BETTER. We can do better in education, economics, religion, understanding, and in every area of life. None of us can any longer just go along for the ride. We all have a job to do. Buckminster Fuller expressed it this way: "There are no passengers on spaceship earth. Everybody's crew."

    David, once a great king in Israel, said: "For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me" (Psalm 31:3, NKJ). We can do better when we remember that all our hope is in God and all His promises are true.

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Copyright © 2002 Bill Ellis. All rights reserved.