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Post Remembering September 11, 2001 V Rafael D Martinez

We will always remember. We will never forget.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16

These are trying times. Everyone's trying something and getting caught. The Church Lady, 1987
Posts: 7752
9/11/21 12:46 am

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Post Remembering September 11, 2001 in the Holy City. Rafael D Martinez

9/11/2001. I was hammering away on an assembly line at the old Maytag plant. I was living in Cleveland, Tennessee. I was a bivocational minister, supporting myself and my now ex wife Joy as we were engaged in ministry there. It was a beautiful, cloudless blue skied day at the Maytag factory. We were the best line in the plant and we had stuff to do. Our track was humming.

Then one of the part supply workers said they heard on their walkie talkie that a plane hit the WTC. It chilled me to the bone and I zoned out and went on automatic, cold and machine like firing screws and wiring even as my heart and mind felt a black stirring of dread. Up and down the line the word was passed and when one woman yelled that another had hit it a cloud fell over everyone's face of sheer bewilderment. But I knew war had begun.

"This is no accident, people," I told my team as I banged another backguard down the tables. A corner was turning in my spirit and I sensed in the world .. it was a scream beyond pitch and volume that totally seized me. Then the fear hit me. What was going on in Chicago? Where were my family? I had one brother working in the Sears Tower, and another working as a fireman in Chicago only a few miles away. Where were they?? Without even seeing or hearing one thing, a real horror made my knees wobbly and made me feel like I was standing on an edge of a cliff. I had to get to a phone. But Maytag kept that line pounding. We were behind and we were going to get ahead. The shareholders counted on us.

The greatest strength I have ever had to muster in all of my life, honest to God, was at that point .. to pull myself together and keep emotionlessly slaving away even as the world as we knew it was changing. There's no way to describe what kind of whiteknuckled angst burnt in me regardless. Nobody was stopping.

The machine of industry had to keep going. But I knew at 11 am. we had a mandatory 15 minute shut down for cleaning. I kept pounding. When that andon light glowed and siren sounded, I shot like a rocket down the line and upstairs to the nearest pay phone. It was a full gallop and screws poured out of my apron. I didn't care.

The national gridlock completely shut the long distance lines off. Innumerable messages telling us circuits were busy were the fruit of my frantic dialing of my mom's phone. I trembled as I punched the keys and hung up again as fast as I could only to dial again. I didn't have my brothers' phone numbers .. I couldn't 􀃘nd them. But I just knew mom would know.

Finally, at 11:13, somehow by the grace of God, I got my mother living in Lynwood, IL and I heard her pained, sobbing voice of hers immediately just pouring out her fright and horror and weeping for the thousands who were now smeared human debris in DC, NYC and Pennsylvania. She was such a sensitive and tenderhearted woman and I knew this was levelling her down to the basement of her soul.

I calmed her down and reminded her God's in charge and swallowed hard when I asked if she knew where Matt and John were. She wailed as she reported Matthew was at the station waiting for the South Shore train out of the Loop. John was on standby and might end up flying to NYC. But they were alive.

They lived on a day when thousands lost their lives in an instant.My knees then buckled and I had to bite my lip hard to not wail myself as I slid down the concrete wall to the floor and the phone tore out of my hands. A shiver of animal terror bent me almost in two .. but I thanked the Lord they were fine.

I would later learn the Sears Tower was a target that day .. and just how unimaginably close my family was to joining by bloodshed the fraternity of devastating loss 9/11 victims had just created. Then the sweat began to pour and the anger came .. and I had to get back to work. Our shareholders needed us to pay tribute to the dying and dead by keeping their profits up. So in compliance, at 11:15, with a fury I've never quite put away from that moment, I was on the line pounding again like a robot. But something snapped in me. Something deep.

And from that moment on, I have never been the same. Twenty years ago in an instant, I became someone else .. I have to stop there. The rage and sorrow stirs and I have to go pray.

And my own story, my descent into the valley of the shadows of death that day, doesn't come close to that which hundreds of thousands that day have had to live out who lost their lives to fanatics and would go on to perish in the aftermath, and the wars to come.

Lord God, help our country which was at one time so united; in grief we became Americans and now once again we are so horribly fractured .. 9/11 was a wake up call for which we long ago hit the snooze button. Deliver us from ourselves. We sure aren't doing the job. Now is a great time to split the sky, Lord. Now. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16

These are trying times. Everyone's trying something and getting caught. The Church Lady, 1987
Posts: 7752
9/11/21 1:00 am

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Post What it looked like inside the Pentagon crash site. Mat
9/11 - Warning - there are some graphic details in this account.

My wife and I were pastors in Alexandra, VA, on September 11, 2001, so I thought I would again share my account of that terrible day. We had just moved to Alexandra five months earlier, after the church had tragically lost its previous pastor to cancer. On 9/11, my father and stepmother were visiting us from Tennessee, and were preparing to take the Metro (their train would have passed right under the Pentagon) downtown that morning for some more sightseeing. All of us had been in D.C. on Monday, but I could not go with them Tuesday due to church responsibilities.

As they waited for the morning rush hour to end, my wife was upstairs when she felt a light shaking and rumbling, which she thought was an earthquake. It was in fact, the impact of the plane slamming into the Pentagon. We began getting horrifying news and images via TV, mostly of the Twin Towers. Shortly after the news began our church daycare phones, along with my office and cell phone, began ringing with frantic calls from parents and church members. We “locked down” the daycare, moving the children to what we thought was the most "bomb" resistant part of the building, as we were just 12 miles from the Pentagon. I started making calls concerning our church members who worked in the Pentagon, as well as others who often worked as contractors there. However, not long after the attacks cell phones and landlines were overloaded and stopped working. It took most of the day to account for everybody’s safety.

One of those we were concerned about was an Air Force officer, and father of five, stationed at the Pentagon (the plane hit the “Air Force” side of the building) whose newborn, Timmy, was in our daycare. It was well into the evening before we knew that Timmy’s father was safe. He had been in the Pentagon, and like the others, he heard and felt the impact and had seen the fire and smoke. By that evening, I thought no one related to the local church had been lost or injured and we rejoiced as parents kept coming late into the evening to take our daycare children home to safety (traffic was horrendous for those escaping D.C.).

The next day, Wednesday, I contacted one of our church deacons, a Captain in the Virginia State Police, and we met at the command post near the Pentagon. He took me down to the impact site and around the various security measures. He asked me to visit a couple of his officers in the hospital, who had been the first of the first responders, and who had both suffered burns in the fire as they helped lead victims out of the building. The officer who was the very first on the scene had been writing a speeding ticket on Columbia Ave., next to the Pentagon when the plane hit. He was the first to enter the building after the impact, and he described what he saw to me. He said the inside of the building where the plane hit looked like glowing red coals of a barbecue. He was overcome by the heat, with his vest melting on him, and had to be carries out by a fellow state trooper, who was the second one in.

The heavy walls of the Pentagon shredded the airliner into such small pieces that inside the building there was nothing that looked like a plane. Once the plane had passed through the outer wall, the fuel and debris spread out in a large circular pattern that collapsed the five floors of that section (the outer ring) and ignited everything and everyone within its radius. The construction and design of the Pentagon kept the damage limited to the Air Force side of the building, which thankfully was being remodeled and had limited personnel working there that day.

Many in my church knew someone who had died on 9/11, but one of our members lost family. A cousin of one of our members and the cousin's wife (Ken and Jennifer Lewis) were working together as Flight Attendants on the flight that hit the Pentagon. Their names are on the memorial which honors those who died at the hands of evil men intent on taking away our freedom to serve Christ.

There is more I could tell, including the DC Sniper and the Anthrax attacks, as well as the trauma of not only 911, but the days and weeks which followed.
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9/11/21 11:01 am

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