Chaplain Doug Ferry (left) of the New York National Guard and Chaplain John Murdoch, director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, minister at Ground Zero.

Today has been named Patriot Day, and as a nation we take time to remember the attack on our country that took over 3,000 lives—people like you and me. The majority of these people were everyday civilian workers; they were non-military. The targeted areas that took the most lives were the Twin Towers and airplanes. The only military target was the Pentagon, where lives were also lost. Along with these average Americans were also emergency service personnel who bravely gave their lives trying to rescue those who had been attacked.

For many, Sept. 11 used to be a day of celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, and special family memories were the norm. But on Sept. 11, 2001 those memories and reasons for celebration took a back seat to the memories of suffering, agony, and loss that we as a nation experienced. Nothing of this magnitude, nothing that solidified us as Americans, had occurred since the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Once again an enemy had struck our homeland. We were shocked, angered, polarized, and ready to retaliate. But we also became openly spiritual. People were openly praying, calling on God to aid, heal, and protect.

As we remember, let us also evaluate where we are. The unity, focus on an enemy, and open spirituality that immediately followed 9-11 have all changed. It seems like the longer it has been since an attack, the less powerful an influence it has. I know people who were in the targeted areas who still have a hard time talking about what happened, and families are missing loved ones. Our military is still fighting, boots on the ground, for our freedom. Don’t forget why they are there. Don’t forget the sacrifice that has been made. May this Patriot Day be more than a time to lower our flags. May it also be a day to lower ourselves to our knees and cry out to our God for the safety, healing, and salvation of our land! May it be a day of remembering 2 Chronicles 7:14, applying God’s requirements for national healing, and living our faith for His glory.

To those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and in the days since as our freedom has been protected, may God meet your needs, comfort your hearts, and heal our land.