Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you ???

Here's my 9/11 story. I was in the jungle, where were you?

I remember that day. We were in the jungle and had just completed a very intense medical clinic among the indians, both Ye'kwana and Sanema. We were hosting, in our jungle hut, two missionary families as well as 8 medical missionaries who had come on a short missions trip, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists. Just some regular Christian folk trying to do some good for the poor and underprivileged of this world, as taught by our Lord.

The clinic ended on September 10th, and the 11th was travel day for the Americans to return, via 3 mission planes, to the town of Puerto Ayacucho where they would catch a flight to Caracas and then on to the US.

We awoke and had breakfast as planned and began the job of weighing everyone and their luggage to decide how best to disburse the weight among the three planes as we could only take off from our short airstrip with a limited cargo.

The first MAF plane arrived early as planned and the pilot came up to the house where we talked over the planned flights for the day. He and my husband then began to prep the flight for a cargo only flight. As he taxied to the end of our airstrip to prepare for take off, he placed his radio call into the mission base at Puerto Ayacucho for flight following. He slowly taxied back and began to walk up the hill towards our house.

He entered the house where we were all laughing and joking about our week. He was white and shaky and said," The US is under attack! Two planes have hit the Twin Towers and one has hit the Pentagon!"

We all stared at him in disbelief! How could this be? He said he needed to sit and get himself together before he tried to take off.

We all began talking. We had no TV, no radio, except the hamm radio, no way to find out any information.We called Puerto Ayacucho by radio to see if they had more news for us and were told of the plane in Pennsylvania. They also told us that all air traffic was closed down in the states. Our American friends became very uncomfortable when as they realized they could not get home!

I remember wondering how I could continue to feed so many people indefinitely...I put water on to boil for some pasta not knowing how many people I would need to feed or for how long.

The visitors became very upset at not being able to communicate with their family and friends and we decided to continue with the plan to fly them all to Puerto Ayacucho where they would at least be able to phone home.

As we waited for all the flights, one of the visiting doctors, a Lebanese-American, listening to all of our consternation at this vile attack on our country, said, "Welcome to the real world!" Her comment was not well received by all at the table, but she had a point! She told us how as a child growing up in Lebanon, her family said good bye every morning not knowing if they would ever see one another again. She was raised as a Christian in Lebanon and terror was a part of her daily life. She said we, Americans, needed to ,"Grow up!" She was right.

We ended up having 5 planes land and take off from our strip that day. I remember Clint looking at me as the last one took off and saying, "Do you realize we just had more flights here than in the entire US today?" We would not see video of the towers falling for 2 more weeks. I remember thinking of the obvious differences between Islam and Christianity that day. Here we were trying to spread aid and comfort and the Muslims were spreading death and destruction.


The Localmalcontent said...

Unusual story, JMom, yet with the same horror and dismay we all felt that day, those days.

Sombre day of remembrances today.

Tori said...

Hey Rita,
I remember that day. We were at home awaiting out language teacher. We had been in Croatia just over a year and we were finally over the blunt of the culture shock.

We readied our books and things and decided to take the next 30 minutes to watch some Fox News. As we turned on the TV we were shocked into silence. Was this really happening? What does this mean for us. Where's the number to the embassy? We were scared and dismayed.

The door bell rang and shocked us back to reality. Svjetlana, our tutor was here and as quickly as she walked into the living room and seen what was going on tears began to stream down her face. She said it reminder her so much of the Bosnian wars of which she was part.

We all sat in silence and watched yet another plane hit the tower in real time. It almost felt like the world, as we knew it, had been shaken and it had.

Anyway, this is where I was on September 11th and I'll never forget.

I think I'll post this on my blog and link to you!

Jane said...

Indeed a day we will never forget...and one where we will remember where we were.
As Americans we do have to WAKE UP and realize that we have been SO blessed and so sheltered until 9/11. It is time for us to 'grow up' and know that we are hated by the muslim extremists and they want us dead. Whatever we have to do to prevent another attack is just what we have to do. This is reason I am a McCain supporter. He gets it!

redneck preacher said...

I remember the mixed feelings.

Anger, at the people who want to claim my country as their own; Anger at the liberal politicians who allowed stated enemies to live here; Anger at the schools that allow their academians to teach all systems are equal.

Sorrow for the lives lost and hurting families

I still have those same feelings for the same reason.


nanc said...

my husband was home on a rare weekday off - we were having coffee, visiting and watching the news - having an hour earlier sent our children off to school.

we watched in disbelief until the second plane hit and then we believed we were at war in that instant and wanted to go retrieve our babies from school.

i'll never forget, j.m.

The Hermit said...

I was teaching that day. I had my class out on the playground and when I brought them in classroom other teachers told me a small plane had accidently hit a building in New York. Then we turned on the classroom tv. The news said someone might have fired a rocket at the building. About then the principal came on the intercom and told us to turn off all the classroom tv sets, and not to talk to the children about what was going on. Some time later she came on the intercom and told us that terrorists had attacked New York and Washington. She was upset because her son was a guard at the Pentagon.
It was a bad day for us all.

¡Ludicrious! said...

I remember that day. Most people do.
We'd just gotten back from a funeral for an old lady I didn't know. I remember being bored. Right when we got home, my aunt called us and said to turn on the TV, because she lived in New York somewhere, and we were really scared. I thought the falling buildings looked cool, but I also understood how freaky it was. D:

Pat said...

I still get chills just thinking about that day.....
I was listening to morning news, and they broke in to show the first tower and I screamed as I watched them hit the second!!
I feltr nauseous and called my children together to pray....for America, for our world and for those who died as well as their families. For weeks, the American flag was everywhere...we would bet teary eyed at the displays....
Sad to say, that pride and display by our fellow Americans has dwindled....

Thanks for sharing your story!!!Guess we never thought of your receiving current events on the mission field!!

Z said...

as I said on my blog, we were living in Paris.
I wish Americans could know how kind and loving the French were to us, especially at that time.
We'd been warned never to wear American bandanas, prints, nothing with the flag on it, etc., and we obeyed ...this was before 9/11.

Afterwards, I was in a grocery store and saw many women with handbags with the flag on the side, or a flag scarf in their hair and I thought "They're NUTS! It's marvelous, but we're to be careful, especially now". I sidled up to them to hear their was French. REAL unaccented French. THEY stood up for US.

I still cry when I think of it and this..... "Today, Madame," the foreigners I spoke to said to me at the first church service at the American Episcopal Cathedral after 9/11.." we are ALL AMericans"..

I wish I'd seen the patriotism afterwards that I hear happened here....

Z said...

by the way, JM...thanks for your story; what a really beautiful finish, too. You are SO RIGHT.

Miriam said...

I was in Australia working at a camp. I came into the office in the morning and my boss came to me and asked if I'd seen the news.When I said I hadn't, he told me what had happened. I remember thinking he was joking at first (he did have a rather dark sense of humor). He told me to go home and turn on the TV. I was stunned.

I remember being frustrated that all the news stations were focusing on the three Australians who were supposed to be in the towers at the time, interviewing their families, etc. I thought about the hundreds of other individuals affected and wished we could learn more about them.

Mustang said...

A powerful story, wonderfully told. Reading Angel’s post today, I recalled so many people asking God, "Why?" As we learned of the thousands of people miraculously saved, I remember thinking that our Lord was working over-time that morning. We morn the lost, but we must give thanks to God for those who He saved.

Thank you for this wonderful post, JM.

heidianne jackson said...

i told the whole story over at z's place jm, but your story is so moving i'm ashamed to have told mine. i've been crying, again, pretty much since i woke up. i lost no one in the tower, but i did lose the mother of a dear friend in the pentagon. it's personal and i will never forget.

Brooke said...

Great retelling of your experience.

I posted mine up at Chuck's site... I'm too weary to do it again...

I don't think any of us will forget that day.

Roger W. Gardner said...

Thank you Rita for your wonderful article and for your exemplary life.

MK said...

Yep, what that Lebanese Christian lady said, i've heard many of them explain the vast tolerance and peace that is Islam. They've experienced it first hand, so we'd be wise to heed their warning.

"Here we were trying to spread aid and comfort and the Muslims were spreading death and destruction."

Well said JM.

crazy4danes said...

I was home watching the news and actually watched the second plane hit the towers. I will never forget the feeling in my heart that day.

The Localmalcontent said...

one of those occasions in life when everyone remembers exactly where they were, 'when they learned'.

I was in bed half asleep, with the radio tuned to talk radio, next to me.
The words "...we now join ABC NEWS for this live, breaking news story, a jet has crashed into the North World Trade Tower building" by the local guy at 7:55, got me jumping outta bed to run to the TV set, after about 3 hours sleep.

My strange story comes later- knowing, seeng the terror attacks on TV all morning long, and then driving to my job, I saw long lines at gas stations everywhere, and far higher gasoline prices posted on their signs.

+ I thought the gas stations were having a gas price war instead, until I got to the casino, where there was a C/C running, Video warning from HQ in Durant to be on the lookout for anything that anyone considered 'terroristic'. The Choctaw Police were on full alert, and our attendance that day forward was down 70+%.
A Cherokee casino received a bomb threat and closed all that tribe's enterprises down; it also warned all of us of the unexpected, unknown dangers of Muslim terrorism at home here.

Then began the nightmare for me.

MightyMom said...

it was the second day of my new job.

MightyMom said...

I should add, Subvet worked in the Federal Building in Dallas at the time...I was scared to death. I called and got one of his co-workers, when I asked if they were evacuating he laughed at me. "Well SOME people are leaving if they want, but no." I replied, "They've bombed the PENTAGON and you're not evacuating all the federal buildings??" I remember the bombing of the federal building in OK. And for some reason, to this day, the fact that the Pentagon was hit is much scarier than the twin towers. Something about the Pentagon being the hub of our defense system.....

Pam said...

I remember not being able to believe my eyes as I watched it all on T.V.

Amen to your last line of the post.