Who can forget what happened in our country on this day twelve years ago today? What started as a beautiful September day turned to heartbreak in a matter of minutes. I was drinking second cup of coffee and watching the news when their coverage suddenly switched to the Twin Towers in New York City. When I saw the first Trade Tower hit by the plane, I wondered how someone could just run into it? Did the pilot have a stroke? How could it have happened? Then the second tower was hit. As the day went on, with the attack on the Pentagon and the plane going down in that field near Shankstown, Pennsylvania– to keep it from doing the harm our enemies intended–we all knew our country was under attack.
In the days following, we all watched, cried and prayed as this country came together. We watched as the people in New York City reached out to one another and became an inspiration to us all. New Yorker’s became more than what we’d sometimes been led to believe by what we’d seen through the media–people hurrying from one place to another down busy streets, never making eye contact with one another, appearing not to care about each other. What a lie. They became what they’d always been–people who care deeply, with families who lost loved ones, who lost friends, who’d had their city attacked in a horrible way. They became people we deeply cared about, wanted to help and prayed for.
I don’t think I can fully explain how much I began to care about the people of New York City during that time and wanted to know more about the city. Wanted to know about its history in this country. And as a writer, I began to want to set stories there–historical ones–to show that people in this huge city have always been like people in small towns and large all across this county. They care deeply about one another, their families and friends, their city and this country.
It took a long while for the ideas to form and longer still to figure out the connection that would bring all kinds of people together, showing their care for others and their city, but God is so good and in His time, He showed me the way to write my Heaton House stories. I feel so blessed that I am still writing this Christian historical series about people in New York City in the late 1800′s. Many people at that time reached out to others, too. I pray that these stories will somehow serve as inspiration to others just as the people of New York City have been to me ever since that day sixteen years ago.
On this day, our thoughts and prayers remain with those who have suffered so much because of that day sixteen years ago–the families who lost loved ones and friends, the first responders and our military families, and those who witnessed the horror of that day from nearby buildings and the streets of New York City. May God bless them and this country we love.