I was in France on a missions trip. We were a little more than halfway through our six month term. We spent the day hiking through fields and forest where part of WWII was fought. We were actually able to step down into the small, dark holes in the ground the soldiers hid in all those years ago. It was a day of remembrance as I knew my grandpa battled there...at just sixteen years old. I tried imagining what it must be like to be so young, so far away from home, fighting. Coming face to face with someone who was prepared to kill you. It was definitely a day I will never forget even without the horror of the September 11th attacks. I remember thinking later how ironic it was to be standing where one war was fought all the while there was a war raging thousands of miles away.
Then we went back to this very sweet older couple's home. They were the ones who took us on this particular hike and they wanted to feed us and spend some time talking before we headed back to our host families. We turned on the television. We simply couldn't believe what we were seeing. Up to that point we had no idea what had been happening. I remember huddling together in their small living room and praying. That is a memory I will hold close forever.
I remember wanting to watch the news coverage from a familiar voice, the news anchors from back home. Matt Lauer, Charlie Gibson. I remember trying to call home and not getting through. I remember wanting to be with my family. And I remember being so thankful that God was bigger than all of it. And He still is. And I'm still so thankful.
My host dad was a commercial pilot. He would bring me all the newspapers he could find from the airport. Over the next several days and weeks we watched New York and the rest of America slowly move forward. I love the way everyone came together. I love the way it united us. I love the way we will never forget.