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  • Writer's pictureJamie Holden

September 11, 2022 Bible Reading

September 11, 2022

First Responders

It was 9:00 a.m. September 11. 2001.

I flipped on the television to see the scores from the Broncos game the night before.

My Mom and sister were in the kitchen making my Dad a birthday cake.

Over the next few hours, we watched in horror as terrorists attacked our nation. First the Twin Towers, then the Pentagon, then Shanksville, Pa. As we watched and prayed from the safety of our home, others—men and women—were running toward the crash sites. They ran toward the falling buildings, toward the fire and smoke, toward the debris.

Firefighters. Police officers. Ambulance workers. EMTS. Chaplains. First Responders trained to respond to the worst-case scenario now raced an emergency no one ever imagined.

Not knowing if more attacks were coming….not knowing what they would find in the debris…with a ride or die attitude, they ran toward danger, trying to save as many lives as possible.

Over the next few days and weeks, even more would head into the wreckage, trying to save lives. When the rescue mission eventually became a recovery mission, they continued, trying to bring some comfort to the families who lost loved ones.

One of those men was my good friend, Tom Sember. A retired firefighter from Buffalo, New York, he went to Ground Zero in New York City to do all he could. His name I know, but there are countless others whose names we don’t know. Still, we cannot forget what they did that day.

The FBI states that more than 400 first responders, including 60 law enforcement officers, were killed on 9/11. Since then, many more have suffered life-changing illnesses from toxins they inhaled, helping others. Hundreds of New York City police officers and firefights have died since then from 9/11 related conditions, including cancers.

Why did they do it? Why did they run toward the danger when so many others were running away?

Could it be the same reason that the passengers of Flight 93 chose to take matters into their own hands and revolt against their captors? Deciding to take the plane from the hijackers before it could become a weapon against the White House or the Capitol, the passengers of Flight 93 lost their lives trying to save the lives of countless others. With the rallying cry of “Let’s Roll,” they exhibited ride or die courage until the last moment when their flight crashed in Shanksville, PA.

Since then, I’ve watched several documentaries that retold their story and reenacted their flights. Each time I’ve wondered what gave them the courage to choose the actions they did. Alongside, I’ve questioned if I’d have their same resolve.

One thing I know for sure: I am committed to never forgetting and always honoring the lives of the men and women who died that day. It’s our duty as Americans to remember those who ran toward the building, those who stayed to clean up the mess, those who treated the wounded, and helped others escape.

That day, they showed us what it means to truly ride or die for our country, for our fellow man, and the brothers and sisters we work alongside. When they could have run away, they ran forward….helping the hurting without considering what agony it would cause them.

They are true heroes!

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NIV)

The first responders and passengers of Flight 9/11 embodied this verse that day.

They showed us what it means to give everything for the love of freedom, for the love of country, and the love of their fellowman.

Today, we honor their sacrifice and pray that we will have this same courage to ride or die for our faith, freedom, and those we love.

Never Forget!!

By: Jamie Holden, Mantour Ministries

Today’s Verse: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13, NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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