Answering The Call

It was a beautiful fall Tuesday in early September.  Our location in Michigan was bright and sunny. The students in our school were busy in the pursuit of academics, and their after school athletics.  Little did I realize that on this beautiful day the storm winds of one of the greatest disasters in American history were beginning to blow.  

The school day began at 8:30 am, and the routines of the day were moving along in a completely normal way, until they weren’t.  Someone spoke to me during first hour and said there had been a disaster in New York.  A plane had struck one of the large office towers.
While school continued without any knowledge of this event, I went to the youth room, a place that had the only TV in our building with an outside antenna, and quickly tuned in.  The live broadcast visuals were breath taking. The reporters I was listening to were not sure what was going on, whether it was a tragic accident or possibly something far more sinister.

With an accelerated heart rate, I watched the smoke bellowing from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and then right before my eyes I watched as another plane moved across the screen and flew directly into the South Tower.  I was stunned as I watched the flames and debris fill the sky.  I remembered losing a high school friend in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland almost 13 years years earlier. Like then, the loss of life would be massive.  Then my emotions moved past being upset. I was visibly angry.  This was not an accident, but a deliberate act of terrorism by someone with absolutely no concern for innocent human life.

I quickly informed our office about the situation and continued monitoring the available coverage.  First responders were arriving on the scene as plans were formulated to evacuate the buildings.  I was well aware of the fact that the people in portions of the building that were directly struck probably did not survive, but I wondered if they would be able to save those who were on the floors above.

Policemen, firemen, medical personnel, and civilians were desperately helping a stream of people who were exiting the building and looking to facilitate the evacuation of others.  People were running out of danger and away from this holocaust, while our first responders were running right into it.
Approximately one hour later, the unthinkable happened.  The South Tower was the first to collapse, followed shortly thereafter by the North Tower.  Everyone who was still inside those buildings did not survive.  Approximately 3,000 people died in this horrible attack, with another 6,000 injured and the lives of many thousands of loved ones were forever changed.  Some experts have estimated that eventually more people will die from disaster related diseases then were actually killed that day.  We were all changed that day.  Events like this happen in other places, but not here in the United States of America. Or so we thought.

Although the physical remnants of that day have been removed, repaired or replaced, we must not fail to look back with gratitude toward those heroes, men and women, who died trying to save others.  The Bible says, “No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends.

Later in the week, as I spoke to our student body, it was my privilege to remind them that this willingness to put one’s self at risk for the protection of others is an attitude that goes back to the founding of this great nation.  American service men and women have fought for our freedom on foreign soil, and first responders have defended the peace here at home.  Our gratitude to them should be expressed openly, and regularly.

I also spoke of another who gave His life so that everyone could live forever.  When called upon to pay the price for our sin, at Calvary, He willingly answered the call.  We who know Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, must be ready to help others find safety within the Savior’s love.  This structure we call Earth is under attack and is in flames.  There is a collapse coming.  Are we going to follow the example of these American heroes and help save as many as we can, with the truth of the Gospel, or will we just stand by and watch?  God’s power and His grace are available to as many as see the need and are willing to answer the call.

Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing?


The Call

In the time of crisis and trouble, one of our first thoughts is, “Where can I get someone to help me?”  One of the genuine blessings of this great country of ours is the fact that we do have emergency and military professionals who are dedicated and committed to public safety and national defense.  Sadly, this high and special calling sometimes requires the ultimate sacrifice of health and even life itself.  Too often these heroic efforts occur in the absence of expressions of gratitude from those who are being served.

The alarm call rings out on a dreadful day.
“Look up at the horror and come right away!
The need is so great, lives hang on the edge.”
“We offer ourselves,” is their sworn pledge.

Sirens sound out as heroes swing into action.
Though peril abounds, there is no retraction.
Reaching out for others and giving their hand,
They stand in the gap and die where they stand.

They rush in to rescue while others rush out.
The pathway of safety so rarely their route.
Danger rides with them each and every day.
“The security of others first,” is what they say.

It does not take long for our heroes to die,
Leaving many loved ones who wonder why.
Speak up, you patriots. Speak up and shout!
Sacrifice and courage are what it’s all about.

Stand up, thankful citizens of this nation great.
Give honor to all who have entered God’s gate.
To those who continue in faithful service today,
When you next greet them, what will you say?

Roger Allen Cook

II Samuel 1:23, 25…In their lives and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.  How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

Dedicated to all the American heroes of 9/11, of history, of today and of tomorrow.

I love to write stories about God’s grace.  If you have a story I should consider, please contact me at:    roger.cook@southsidefamily.com