Summary: Today Across America, America remembers the attack against her on September 11, 2001. It is good for us to remember the events of 911. We should never forget what took place on 911. And we should never forget the lessons learned by these events.
INTRODUCTION: Today Across America, America remembers. America remembers the events of September 11, 2001 when our seemingly inviolable security was shattered as nearly 3000 people from 90 countries perished from terrorist attacks upon our soil. It is good for us to remember the events of that day. We should never forget what took place on 911. And we should never forget the lessons learned by these events.
As we reflect on that day let us remember...
I. Remember the Uncertainty of Life
A. On September 11, 2001 a series of four coordinated suicide attacks were levied against targets in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours. Hijackers crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. When passengers attempted to take control of the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, preventing it from reaching its intended target in Washington, D.C.
B. There were a total of 2,996 deaths, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims. The victims included 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Over 3000 children lost a parent who was killed in the attacks or died in rescue operations.
C. The victims of the attack on September 11th didn’t plan on dying that day. When International trade consultant Melissa Harrington Hughes left her to her newlywed husband Sean to go to her office in the Twin Towers dying was the last thing on her mind. As Moises Rivas, a chef at Windows on the World, the renowned restaurant at the top of the North Tower, left for work he may have been thinking about the menu he would prepare for that day, certainly not of never seeing his stepdaughter Linda or his wife again. As American Airlines Flight 77 was taking off Barbara Olson a Pentagon political commentator and a passenger of the ill-fated flight may have wondered if the flight would be smooth but never dreamed that her flight would end in a fiery inferno as the plane crashed into the pentagon.
D. James 4:13-14 “Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit." You don't even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.”
E. Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
F. Warren Wiersbe in his discussion of redemption asks an important question... How long will the rest of our lives be? We don't know; nobody knows. We may have many years, or we may have many days. We could be called home to glory before the day ends. We don't know. "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). It is an appointment, not an accident, and God knows when it is going to be.
G. Remembering how uncertain and how short life is we most make the most of the opportunities God gives us.
H. Ephesians 5:15-16 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
I. We need to live in the present. There are many of us who make the mistake of spending our lives preparing to do something but never doing it. We have intentions to talk to a friend about Christ but not this time next time we talk. We intend to start tithing – next week. We intend to get involved in Sunday School after the weather starts getting cooler. We intend... but we never.
J. We should be living each day as though it were our last.
II. Remember the Necessity of Preparedness
A. The events of September 11th not only remind us that life is uncertain, but it reminds us of the necessity of preparedness in light of its uncertainties.
B. The final messages recorded by the victims of the attacks are heart wrenching.
1. On Flight 93, 33 year old flight attendant Ceecee Lyles called home to an answering-machine leaving a message to her husband, "Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could see your face again."
2. Fire Capt. Walter Hynes on his wife’s voicemail just before rolling out of Ladder Company 13 heading toward the Towers, "Honey, it's real bad," he said. "I don't know if we'll make it out. I want to tell you that I love you and I love the kids."