The Strange Thing About September 2001 That You Probably Didn’t Notice

Something has always bothered me about 9/11 and September of 2001.

Something strange.

As the anniversaries would come and go I could never quite figure it out.

Until this year.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years…when it happened I was a senior at Milligan College in Tennessee. In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in other ways, it feels like that was a lifetime ago. This year, I spent the anniversary watching memorials on television, calling old friends that I was with when it happened, and went for a walk to reflect on my memories of that day. This entire September my thoughts have turned back to that season of life.

While I was walking, I had an epiphany.

After 20 years, the mystery revealed itself.

We had just witnessed the most traumatic event ever seen on television.

Some professors refused to cancel classes or acknowledge what had happened.  Some professors immediately led pacifist prayers and gave anti-military speeches on 9/12. 

In the midst of that, some people were saying “let’s nuke the entire Middle East” or “kill ’em all and let God sort it out.”

At the same time, everyone was rushing to inject themself into the story. “I think they’re going to attack Tennessee next.” “I was just in New York last year.” “My best friend’s cousin’s neighbor just applied for an internship at one of the towers.”

In hindsight, ALL of these responses were equally bizarre. But why?

No one actually took time to process what had just happened.

And…no one gave us (students) time to process what had just happened.

No one gave us time to process what had just happened.


That’s what has always felt strange about 9/11 and what has always continued to bothered me.

Finally…the answer.

There were still people being pulled out of the collapsed towers, and the political and religious spin had already begun. Instead of praying for people fighting for their lives, those who had lost loved ones, the brave first responders, and for wisdom for our government leaders, we had ideologies crammed down our throats.

As I continued to think about this…I realize that this is the great mental illness that is slowly killing America.

We’re never allowed time to process both bad and good things that happen.  To observe.  To withdraw to the desert like Jesus and be alone with our thoughts.  To be silent. To think.  To grieve. To pray. To cry. To process our feelings and emotions. To seek wisdom.

In today’s minute to minute news cycle, there is always a talking head, rant, tweet, satirical post, meme, article, or speech from someone telling us how to think…always without end.

I think this is a mistake…

More than a mistake.

I think this is the cause of our collective anxiety, rage, and division. This truly is a mental illness…and it will kill America if we let it.

We need to take time to process. To put our phones down. To go on walks. To be silent. To listen. To pray. To seek wisdom. Abraham Lincoln did it. Jesus did it.

So should we.

Hi, I’m Nevan. I write Sunday School lessons for kids to help teach kids about Jesus and the Bible. My free Children’s Ministry resources have been downloaded over 1,000,000 times! Thanks for visiting my website. You can follow me on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “The Strange Thing About September 2001 That You Probably Didn’t Notice”

  1. True. That is especially unfortunate for people your age.
    Being retired, I had ample time to process. My husband and I were working on a project outside our home when the neighbor ran out yelling, “Get inside! We are being attacked! It’s on t.v.”
    We went i side in time to see the second plane hit the towers. We spent the rest of the day following it especially after the Pentagon was hit. We had a relative who worked in that very wing. It is God’s Grace that she was not killed. She escaped physical injury but the emotional trauma caused her to retire early. Just moments before the plane hit, she left her office to attend a meeting in another part of the building!
    Unlike you and so many others, we had time to process it and I must agree with you, it makes all the difference in the world.

  2. Some people did; those who had the time or took time to do it.
    Like in death, the clock keeps moving us forward.
    In many ways Jesus prayed but also kept moving forward in his life prioritizing.
    God be with us.
    Thank you for your thoughtful article.
    Carolyn Carter


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