There’s a song by Alan Jackson that poses a question; whether we’ve heard the song or not, and most of us probably have, the question is one we’ve all asked: What did you do when you were made aware of the events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2001?
I was, personally, nowhere that I would have expected to be, six months prior to that. I was recovering from cancer surgery and, just released from the hospital, resting in my parents’ home in western Pennsylvania.
What were your first thoughts? Perhaps, even with no oxycontin in your system, you believed that it was a disaster movie, too.
Because of the flight restrictions attendant to my surgery, we had been obliged to drive for the surgery, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If you recall, flights immediately entered into severe restrictions.
As we drove back to Clovis, we saw many people gathering, usually I suppose at noontime, for the possibly most heartfelt prayer vigils in which they had ever participated.
Along with the grief and shock, I remember a number of causes for frustration. On the morning we left, my wife stopped at a place where they were having a blood drive and gave blood. I’d been a long term blood-donor, and wasn’t able to give, obviously.
I was a New Mexico National Guard chaplain, and this was another source of frustration. At the time, it seemed and was rumored that there would be massive guard and reserve mobilizations. Attached to an air artillery battalion as I was, it seemed possible that our unit would be mobilized. I knew that, had we been so, I wouldn’t be able to go, and if you have ever been in the military, you can understand that frustration.
I wonder, and don’t recall the answer, whether anyone was proclaiming, in the wake of the attacks, that the apocalypse was imminent. Like I indicated, there was a certain amount of fogginess for me in those days that made perceptions difficult to remember.
Discussing it with my history classes this week, I mentioned that possibility, as such proclamations are usually attendant on-well, on any disaster.
Were we pulled in tighter as a nation? I don’t know; it seems at the time that we were. Yet, in the light of the grip bipartisanship seems to have on our elected, it makes one wonder. Perhaps it was the people, not the politicos, who were drawn tighter together.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at: