September 11, 2001is obviously a day most Americans will never forget. But 9/11 as it continues through the years to be known as also changed lives and changed them forever.
From the lives of the occupants that didn’t make it out of the buildings, the police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders to the men and women of the military and their families who fought the wars that resulted, lives were changed forever.
In fact, it wasn’t just New York that was affected but all of America. The Rio Grande Valley was no exception for sure. The notices of our dead service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan appearing on TV and News Papers are memories only too real of the long term, life changing effects of that fateful day.
There were not only the fatalities of war; there were also the physical and mental casualties. But, one important fact somewhat forgotten was brought to this writers attention recently. This is a matter which seems to be all but over looked. Not only did military reservists go when they were called up, some families and wives encouraged their fathers and husbands to volunteer before they were called up and GO. Everyone was in a very ‘patriotic’ mood. It was the idea of, “let’s take it to them before they have a chance to hit us again”.
In preparing for the writing of this article a wonderful local RGV Air Force Reservist wife who dearly loves her husband relayed to this writer with tears in her eyes and her heart obviously heavy, how she had encouraged the love of her life to go and fight and support our country. They were both true patriots. The good news is this patriot did not get killed but rather after years of being deployed; he told this local RGV lady that he wanted a divorce.She was shocked and she felt as though she had died. She felt she had originally done the right thing by encouraging her husband to go help his country but in the end she feels a deep loss. This is yet another casualty of 911 and the war that followed. Again, this is a 9/11 casualty not talked about much at all. It too is life changing, it is still very painful and just like the death of a father, son or husband, and lives are changed forever.
As we get ever closer to the anniversary of that tragic day, churches and communities throughout the Rio Grande Valley will commemorate the event that changed us all forever. Although no specifics are planned, many of the pastors spoken to by this writer said there will be everything from time set aside in regular services for the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer for the families of the victims and military lost or currently serving to special guest and music.
As each of us pray in the same manner, we would do well to also remember those families which were changed forever through divorce and mental illness. Their loss is no less and in fact even worst to live with. It is an emotional pain with many unanswered questions. The greatest being, ‘How could this have happened?”
The word ‘forever’ carries a strong meaning, ‘things will never be the same’. But fortunately for mankind, God is all about change. He can take all the sadness and disappointment and turn it around for our benefit. Even as bad as it might seem at the time, if we let Him, God can make things better. No, it will never be the same, but it can ultimately be better.
The apostle Paul reminds us to, ‘Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead’
Let us continue to pray for one another; especially those with the greatest of loss and strain to move forward by depending on God.