It was a Tuesday morning, just like today. I was on vacation in Las Vegas with some of my family – celebrating my 21st and Grandma’s 75th birthdays. The night before I decided to stay in Grandma’s room. I was barely waking when I heard Grandma talking to Mom in the adjoining room. Grandma asked if she should wake me. Mom answering that they should let me sleep as long as I could. That I would find out when I woke up.
That got me up pretty fast.
I went into the other room, blinking sleep out of my eyes, and asked what was going on. I’ll never forget the feeling that washed over me as we watched the news play that tragedy over and over again. I remember looking out the window from our hotel room at the Flamingo Hilton towards Caesar’s Palace. I kept imagining a plane crashing into their new tower they had just added.
We tried to call home to loved ones – all circuits were busy. We were supposed to fly out that day. Obviously we could not. We ended up extending our trip to Friday, when we loaded ourselves on a Greyhound bus, and journeyed 48 hours across the country to the bus station in Indianapolis. Me, my mother, my grandmother, and my two aunts – all packed in a bus with no opportunity to shower or stretch our legs much at all. It was a long, depressing trip.
Those extra days in Las Vegas were odd for sure. We walked the strip to entertain ourselves, and the entire city was eerily quiet. American flags were raised proudly all over town. The fountains at The Bellagio danced to Lee Greenwood. The attitude was very subdued (for Las Vegas) as we all were steeped in a quiet mourning – wondering what was to come next.
I’m not a hyper-patriotic person. I worship my Lord, not my country. But I will say that the land I love was damaged forever that day, and so was my heart. I will never forget.
As we’re remembering our country’s pain from that day, let’s remember that other countries feel similar pain so much more frequently. Let’s remember those across the globe who will never forget their particular terrors as well. Most of all, let’s remember that God mourns this evil with us.