‘Don’t wait for calamity’

Student discusses 9/11 experience

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Carlos Baquerizo

When the planes slammed into the Twin Towers 15 years ago, the country was at a standstill.

Why does it take tragedy for us to come together as people, believe in God or even realize just how precious life is?

I was a student-athlete at Cumberland College in Eastern Kentucky that day. Wrestling was my life. After getting dressed, I made my way downstairs from my dorm-room.

People were huddled around the common-area television. I made my way over to investigate. An announcement was just made. No extra-curricular meetings will take place today. At first, I thought I had caught a break. I would have a day without wrestling practice and no responsibilities.

As I made my way up to the crowd of people, my stomach dropped. There was a large building on fire. My school bag dropped to the floor, as they replayed an airplane striking one of the twin towers. Then another plane smashed into the other tower. We we’re under attack.

This was difficult for an 18-year old kid to process. I was six hours away from home, without a cell phone. The Pentagon was hit next. United 93 was headed to Washington. There were rumors, that plane was headed to the White House.

Because of the brave people on that flight, they did not allow the hijackers to complete their mission.

My roommate and several others were looking for answers. They showed me obscure predictions made by Nostradamus.       

Our resident advisor was in his mid 30’s. He was in the National Guard and everyone knew that he read his Bible often, but he was not often the center of attention.        

The RA saw the panic in our eyes. My roommate showed the RA what people were predicting. Obscure writings from Nostradamus were circulating the internet. They could have been interpreted as what just happened. Things like World War III or the end of the world were being discussed.

I will never forget the eyes of our RA. They were calm and he had his Bible close. He looked into a scared group of kids. He said that we should not look for answers in vague predictions. The Bible says there are certain signs that will come to pass before the end of the world. He told us that this was most likely not the end of the world, but we should always be ready for Christ’s return. The RA said that he would pray with us.

We held hands. Not all of us knew each other, but it didn’t matter. We were brought together by this tragedy and we turned to God for protection and comfort. The world was in disarray, but there was a certain calming that took place in that moment.

Today, people are sitting during the national anthem at sporting events to protest the treatment of minorities in the country. Some people do not feel like the American anthem pertains and includes all.

On Sept. 11, a whole team talked about not standing during the anthem. There are ways to protest that do not disrespect our flag, servicemen, country and unity. This act hurts my heart.

There is definite division in this country. I’m reminded of an Abraham Lincoln quote. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Forget the hate and division. We are all Americans. Don’t take the bait. Stand for our country. Don’t wait for calamity to reach out to God. He’s there all hours of the day and night. Let’s all pray for unity in this country. Let’s stand for the national anthem and come together once again.