I had a book review all ready to go when I realized it would post on September 11th. And I hadn't intended to write anything about the ten year anniversary – there are plenty of others to do that and my thoughts won't add much. But it seemed appropriate to say something.
I never watch TV in the morning, so when I pulled out of the driveway to head for work it was the first I'd heard of it. The DJs were saying "something" had happened in New York, and it sounded serious. I hadn't gotten more than a few blocks before they found out that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I pulled over and called Jamie and told her to turn on the news. I was in my office a short time later when the towers fell, and everyone at work either followed the news online or on a TV in the break room. It wasn't long before they stopped all plane traffic, and where I worked was directly under the flight path for the airport in Salt Lake. It was an eerie quiet punctuated only by the occasional F-16s that would fly over the city, and that lasted for days until flights resumed. I remember trying to buy a newspaper that evening but they were sold out everywhere I went.
Even though I didn't know anyone in New York we all felt a connection to them - everyone felt united in sympathy. Unfortunately, the mutual feelings of concern didn't last long. The Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake about 5 months later and I remember an excessively rude and jeering "letter to the editor" from someone in NYC making fun of Salt Lake, which struck me as particularly ugly considering the concern we had for them in their tragedy. Just an isolated individual, I hoped, but I no longer felt such a kinship with New Yorkers.
The boys and I visited Ground Zero last spring. It was a pretty spooky place, or at least that's the feeling I got on that gloomy and overcast day. I looked up and down the narrow streets around there, wondering where the pictures I'd seen of dust-covered survivors straggling out of the devastation had been taken. I saw 250 year old headstones in a cemetery across the street that had been damaged when the towers fell, and wondered how any of it was left. But other than the spookiness, there wasn't anything special about it, either - just a construction zone swarming with tourists. I guess life goes on.
And I wonder about our current crisis. I'm tired of hearing of people left and right losing their jobs or homes, and elected officials who are more concerned about the next election than fixing the current problems. I think about something our Stake President said the other day, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us a long-term perspective on adversity. Living righteously doesn't guarantee we won't face hardship - that's not what life's about. We learn and grow spiritually more from the difficulties we face than from a life of comfort and ease. Personally, I just hope I don't whine too much when faced with adversity.