In March 2001, I went to New York City on a trip with my Senior English class. On a ferry ride, I took a skyline shot of the city on my 35 mm camera. Later that night, I literally laid down on the sidewalk to take a picture of the Twin Towers.

In December 2001, I went back to NYC with that same camera. Same ferry ride, very different skyline. Same sidewalks, no Twin Towers. It was such a sobering experience to visit Ground Zero while the debris from buildings remained in piles on the street. While I was there, they opened the first viewing areas for people to walk out and look over into where the Towers once stood.

I will never forget those two experiences on each side of 9/11. I will never forget the heroes of that day. On September 14, 2001, Billy Graham offered these words at the National Cathedral

This week we watched in horror as planes crashed into the steel and glass of the World Trade Center. Those majestic towers, built on solid foundations, were examples of prosperity and creativity. When damaged, those buildings plummeted to the ground, imploding in upon themselves. Yet, underneath the debris, is a foundation that was not destroyed. Therein lies the truth of that hymn, “How Firm a Foundation.”

Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation; or to choose to become stronger through all of this struggle, to rebuild on a solid foundation.

I pray our church continues to build on our firm foundation in Jesus Christ. This nation will always be stronger together. The same is true of our church. We are stronger together and would be less without each and every one of you.

Hope to see you Wednesday night.

Grace and peace,