Watching in horror as the events of the morning of September 11, 2001 unfolded, we all experienced a myriad of emotions: shock, grief, fear, anger, confusion.
What I recall feeling most vividly was fear. My sense of security had been stripped away. Never in my lifetime had our homeland been attacked. My kids were young at the time – 9, 5 and 3 – and I remember feeling scared to send them to school.
A few nights after the attacks, while the skies were still silent from all flights being grounded, I was jolted awake from a sound sleep by a loud sound outside. It could have been something as benign as a car door slamming, but in my dream-state, it sounded like an explosion. My heart was racing. Had a plane hit a skyscraper in downtown Seattle?
I opened the blinds and looked out at the calm night sky.
It was my first experience with feeling unsafe from the threat of war and violence. I had taken peace and security for granted.
There are some people who know no life other than one of insecurity and danger. Those who are leaving their homes in Somalia because of drought and famine, are also fleeing terrorism and oppression. They’ve learned to sleep through the sound of gunfire. But many making the journey from Somalia to refugee camps in Kenya have told us they are seeking safety as much as food and water.
“A place that is secure – that’s all I need,” said one frail woman who had been walking for weeks.
The government of Somalia collapsed in the 1990s. Since then, militant groups have controlled parts of the country, and citizens have lived with lawlessness and chaos. Although a transitional government now controls parts of Somalia, there is little or no protection or government aid for citizens.
World Concern and its supporters are bringing hope in the form of food, water and medical attention to those who have fled their homes with nothing. In doing so, we’re also helping restore a sense of security – even if it’s simply knowing where the next meal will come from.
As we remember those who lost their lives 10 years ago on that dreadful day, let’s reflect on the blessing of security – knowing now what it’s like to have it taken away. And join me in praying for the heroes who protect us and provide us with security every day.