15 Years Ago
Fifteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, I started my first shift as a Chaplain Intern at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana. My role was to go room to room, check-in on patients and let them know that as chaplains we were there to listen and pray with them if they would like.
I still remember the first news reports playing on the in-room televisions saying that a small plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. There was not much know about the incident but it seemed strange.
Then, very quickly, the reports changed as the second plane crashed into the other tower and it was clear that it was a commercial airline. Needless to say, it was one day when conversation was inevitable in each room as we all looked on in disbelief at what was unfolding.
By the end of that long shift, we were leading a multi-faith prayer service at the hospital. I just remember a state of fear at what was happening and no one knew if there were going to be more attacks like that in other areas of the country.
The shift ended and I drove back to Upland, Indiana where I was a senior at Taylor University. Fighter jets flew overhead and the line of cars waiting to get gas was over a mile long.
Weeks after that fateful day, I remember researching pathways into the military and ranks for college graduates. I felt like I wanted to do something in response to what had happened.
Then in January 2002, our Christian Education Department took seniors to New York City to visit different ministries in the city. We toured the rubble of the Twin Towers and listened to first hand accounts of those who suffered through that day. We walked by the fences with pictures of loved ones who were in the towers. Hillary was also in New York City that week with majors from her Communication Studies Department and that week sealed our new relationship as we walked through the city.
Though we weren’t personally connected to those who perished that day, September 11, 2011, it changed our outlook on the world. As we were married in the summer of 2002, we started our new life in a very different world than the pre-9/11 world.