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20 Years and Counting

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Photo by Jesse Mills on Unsplash

By Dave Watson

It’s been twenty years today. Twenty years and counting
It’s so long ago, yet it’s not. It’s like yesterday, or like last week or like last fall.
But not twenty years ago today. But it’s been twenty years, twenty years and counting

The pile, the horrible stench, the fear, the tears, the funerals, the bagpipes, the reading of the names
They are all etched in our minds like a bad stain, They can become faded with time but they will never be wiped away
But more importantly we still see the faces
The dad, the mom, the son or daughter the Firefighter, the Cop, the EMS worker
We still see them, we still weep for them, they are still precious to us.
Though it’s been twenty years, twenty years and counting.

Our nation lost some good people that day at the Pentagon and at Shanksville and at The Towers
2977 souls that day. Over 1500 souls since then.
Our City lost some good people that day as well.
Officemates who walked down the stairs of the North Tower together but didn’t quite make it
Strangers who grabbed each others hands and jumped into eternity
Volunteers giving their all to save a few, some not saving themselves
We all lost some great people that day, some heroes
People who lived out the words of Jesus who said  “Greater love has no man than this then a man lay down his life for his friends”
Heroes who would rather lose their life than to let someone else, even a stranger, lose their or lose theirs alone alone
343 firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers, 8 EMS workers
So many lost some very special people that day. We know them all by their names
They went by Daddy, Mommy, Grandpop, Grandma, Uncle, Auntie, Sis, Brother, Son, Daughter, Neighbor, Friend, New Yorker. They were all irreplaceable yet they are gone.
It still stings to think about them. It’s been twenty years, twenty years and counting.

And with the time the wounds heal but never completely. How can they?
The wound runs too deep. It has left a near eternal scar on our hearts
20 years later an aging parent still says “I lost my boy”
20 years later a group of retirees in Florida say it be great if only Jack or Janet were here
20 years later a pregnant daughter says at her shower I wish my mom was here.
20 years later a Yankee fan on their couch says I miss my pop pop
20 years later a bride on her big day wishes for the steady arms of her dad to walk her down that aisle
Yes, it hard to believe it’s been 20 years, 20 years and counting

So today we gather. We look together for hope

The Good Book says there is a time for every purpose under heaven. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry and a time to mourn and a time to rejoice and a time to embrace…..so we do that now.

It also says that “He make everything beautiful in His time”. That is the day we look forward to. When God himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes and their will be no more crying or dying because the former things will have passed away. That is the day we are longing for when there will be a great reunion in the sky.

Until then we look back and remember, remember as we should…. 20 years, 20 years and counting until the day He makes us whole.

Dr. David Watson is the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Staten Island. Read more from him at his blog:  https://nycshepherd.com/.