I remember it all too well. I was a freshman in High School, eating a bowl of cereal, about to walk out of the door for 1st period Geometry. As I was watching ABC's coverage of the first plane hitting the first tower, I saw the second plane hit the second tower on live TV. Not a re-run, but live. I dropped my bowl of cereal in disbelief. I remember a congregational prayer service that evening at Waterview Church of Christ, where I saw some of the toughest men I knew crying like babies. I remember visiting New York City that next June, and the thousands of "Missing" pictures of family members that lined the subway walls; the unbelievable sadness that encompassed my heart when I read hand written messages from young children, "Daddy, we miss you. Please come home." Just like you, it's a day I'll never forget.
For the past ten years, we've heard touching stories from families directly affected by the terrorist attacks, but are you familiar with Ron DiFrancesco? Ron was a 37 year-old Canadian money-market broker for Euro Brokers. His office was on the 84th floor of the South Tower, and he is only one of four people to have escaped above the 81st floor. When the plane struck, Ron began running down the stairs, but safety crews told him to run back up because the flames were too bad below. Ron ran back up the stairs in search of clean air, but realizing that the doors of the stairwell were locked, he covered his mouth and nose with his foreamrs and ran all the way to the bottom fighting the flames. When he reached the ground floor, he heard a giant roar as the building began to collapse. Days later, he woke up in the hospital with burns all over his body and a broken bone in his back. He still has the watch he was wearing on 9/11, which stopped at the exact time the building came down. We can understand why Ron struggles everytime he tells the story, smelling the smoke, feeling the flames, and tasting death like it was yesterday.
Ron DiFrancesco's story is very touching, but his memory is life changing. When reporters asked him what he would remember most about 9/11, Ron said, "Guilt. I will carry with me to my grave whether I should have taken somebody with me." Ten years later, Ron is grateful to be alive, but he still feels the burden of rescuing only himself.
As Christians, it's our responsibility to escape the dangers of this world so we can see Heaven, but we're commanded to take people with us. When the tower of your life falls, who will you rescue? Begin today, before the smoke, flames, and chaos keep you from being a hero!