Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember

I'm a defiant person. I am obstinate and contrary. And when terrorists told me that were going to change the way we did things forever, I said, "Screw you." That's what I do. Shortly after 9/11, I had to fly into Denver for business. The airports were virtually empty except for armed National Guardsmen with their submachine guns slung across their chests.

But I marched through the airport defiantly, glad to take my shoes off to clear security, glad to be one of the few people straggling through the eerie climate of the post terrorist attack airports. No sick, warped terrorists were going to scare me. No way would I let them win. 

It's one way to do it, I guess. 

But last year I met Sally. She was the primary president in our new ward. She's a tall, quiet woman with a soft voice and sweet smile. She has two neat teenage sons. She is kind and humble and you would never know how fiercely intelligent and accomplished she is if someone else didn't tell you. And she greets the whole world with guilelessness, such openness of spirit, that you would never know her brother was on the first plane that crashed into the first tower ten years ago, that crash that made the whole world gasp at once.

I remembered that today when our stake president stood in conference to address this anniversary and honor the fallen. Immediately I wondered how Sally was doing. Then several people were asked to share their testimonies. One elderly gentleman spoke of how the gospel has sustained him through sixty-four years of marriage. One woman spoke of a funny missionary experience in rural Ohio. Another man spoke simply of his gratitude for Jesus Christ. And then Sally's husband stood and talked about this very tender day for them, and of the love they had for the prophets and apostles who reached out to her as a young mother to stand in comfort when she needed comfort in the fog of those days after the towers collapsed and took her brother with them. I think of what I've seen in her in the year that I've known her, her graciousness and lightness of spirit, her simple testimony of her Savior, her surety that she'll see her brother again. And she goes on living the gospel, because nothing that happens makes it less true and so she just keeps on following Christ.

And I think that's the better way to do it.


Vivian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vivian said...

She sure is an inspiration. Like you and her I feel only but grateful and blessed to know that families are forever and that there is a marvelous time with our loved ones awaiting for us on the other side. Have a great week Melanie!

Kristina P. said...

What an inspirational post! I've been watching some of the tributes and things today, and am amazed at so many of the stories of bravery and love for each other, I hadn't heard before. For every instance of tragedy are 3 more stories in it's place of heroicism.

Donna K. Weaver said...

*sniff* Oh, Melanie. I've cried enough today, but you did it to me again. And I'm glad I read this anyway. Thanks.

Karen Peterson said...

Wow. This post really got to me.

One thing I think about a lot is why the people that died did. There were so many stories of people that were running a few minutes late or got stuck in traffic or taking their kids to the first day of school. I remember a story of one lady who was supposed to be on one of the planes and decided at the last minute to take a later one.

I can't help wondering why some were spared and others weren't. And I'm sure I'll never understand. But I do have faith that there is a reason.

Susan said...

I can't even imagine. My brother was on a plane out of DC at the exact time that first plane crashed. The day before, he had a sick, terrible feeling all day and he didn't know why. He told himself if he still felt that way the next day, he wouldn't get on the plane. But the feeling went away. It could have been him. He was flying to Pennsylvania. I don't know why he had that feeling, or how/when the terrorists choose the planes they would be on. But I am thankful for him and for all those tough people like your friend who lost loved ones and still have faith.

Carolyn V said...

Wow. What a strong woman to go through that. I can't imagine. It really makes me grateful for the knowledge we have. Thanks for posting Melanie.

Brittany said...

Sally is awesome and I thought of her especially yesterday and on May 1 when bin Laden was caught. I like to think of that as part of the "bearing one another's burdens" thing we do.