Then to see the firemen, running into the buildings. I believe many of them knew they wouldn't be coming back out. And yet they went.
The feeling, above all, was one of helplessness. I had no power, no means of doing anything to stop what was happening. To know that evil in its most elemental form had been manifested. Secret combinations, indeed.
The only way through, the only way to hold up under the weight of this new form of terror, was prayer. Here's how then-Elder Eyring put it, just weeks after 9/11:
"The world seems to be in commotion. There are wars and rumors of wars. The economies of whole continents are faltering. Crops are failing from lack of rain in places all over the earth. And the people in peril have flooded heaven with prayers. In public and in private, they are petitioning God for help, for comfort, and for direction.
You have probably noticed, as I have in recent days, that prayers have not only become more numerous but more heartfelt. I often am seated on the stand in a meeting near the person who has been asked to pray. I have listened recently with wonder. The words spoken are clearly inspired by God, both eloquent and wise. And the tone is that of a loving child seeking help, not as we might from an earthly parent but from an all-powerful Heavenly Father who knows our needs before we ask."
I was torn between shielding my children from all of it to wanting them to see everything, to understand that indeed the battle yet rages, and that they are the ones sent at this time to fight it.
Have I forgotten the awfulness? Has the raw, awesome terror subsided, replaced again by ease and complacency, so easy (and inviting) to yield to? Probably so.
God help me not to forget. To never, ever forget. And to exert ever more resolve towards proclaiming the name of Him who bore the weight, the awful weight, of falling buildings, murderers in airplanes, and the questioning eyes of the innocent...