September 11 this year marks the 20th anniversary of what has become known as simply 9/11. Say those numbers and every American knows what it means: 2,977 lives lost in a single day; 4 highjacked planes, 3 attacks at Shanksville, PA, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Center. The human toll was immense. Two thousand children lost a parent. The NYC fire department lost 343 firefighters; 7 in 10 Americans said the attack caused them depression. And America was changed forever.
Most of those whom we call generation Z, 68 million Americans, weren’t born yet. So let me tell these individuals about the America that used to be. You could arrive at an airport 30 minutes before a flight and walk straight to your gate in time to board. I know, I used to do it. If a plane was landing with a loved one, you didn’t need a ticket to meet and greet them. No body scanners or metal detectors. No bored TSA agents staring into an X-ray machine looking for a lethal weapon. It only took 19 men, Islamic Al-Qaeda terrorists, to change how we live. On that day, a permanent fear was instilled in Americans. With Al-Qaeda now joined by the Taliban, ISIS, and ISIS-K the words of Jesus in Luke 21:26 seem foreboding: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth . . .”
With our humiliating exit from Afghanistan, many think it’s only a matter of when, not if, something as bad or worse will happen again. Now the enemies of freedom have billions of dollars’ worth of our weapons. Over 20 years, the U.S. spent $2 trillion dollars, $300 million a day on a state-of-the-art embassy, a world-class airport, and armaments including 22,174 Humvees, 33 Black Hawk helicopters, and nearly 360,000 assault rifles. Now, that hardware is in the hands of those who hate us and want to kill us.
Is this the beginning of the Apocalypse? Will an inevitable decline of America as the world’s protector of freedom lead to Armageddon? At the very least we are much nearer to the End Times than many imagine. So today, we pray for America; for our leaders; for the comfort of God’s grace upon those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and still feel the pain. We pray for Americans still trapped in Afghanistan. And we pray for a spiritual awakening in America that will shake us to our moral core.