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Corey's Corner: courage and 9/11

“All commercial U.S. airline flights have been grounded for the first time in our nation’s history. All federal and most state buildings have closed, and many major landmarks have been shut down. … At this time we don’t know the extent of the casualties, but all of us are affected …”

These words were spoken by Biola’s president, Clyde Cook, in a special chapel he quickly called the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

The United States has experienced some wrenching moments over the past century. You students mostly know about them as history. The Titanic’s fatal voyage in 1912; the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941; President Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassinations in 1963 and 1968; even the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 is a foggy memory at best for you. Hurricane Katrina you’ll remember, the 2005 cyclone that killed over 1,800 people and caused $84 billion in destruction.

But perhaps for your generation, no event of your childhood will define that era more tragically than the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. You probably remember the emerging news that Tuesday morning. Some of you on the West Coast awoke to the stories of the Trade Center Towers becoming infernos before their collapse.

We were living in Boston, the place where the two airliners that pierced the New York City skyscrapers had departed from. The elementary school where our two older children attended would not discuss the details, fearing that any one of the children could have had a mother or father on those flights. Paula and I awaited our children that day at the bus stop and had a sobering family conversation and time of prayer. We wondered if the world as we knew it was beginning to topple.

This Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the hate-filled attacks on United States soil, attacks that killed 2,792 men, women and children who got up that morning like any other morning. Thousands of others in the U.S. Armed Forces have given their lives in the subsequent military responses in the war on terrorism.

As Sunday arrives and with it the 10th anniversary of these attacks, take time to ponder deeply not only the wickedness of sin evident in that contemptible moment, but also your calling to be a redemptive voice in a broken world. Singspo will be dedicated to remembering the tragedy of Sept. 11. Gather together that night in Chase Gymnasium and its outdoors overflow along with thousands of other gatherings worldwide.

Let’s not forget that day 10 years ago. Remembering this way calls you to either live in fear or to lead in courage. Courage, the theme of our fall 2011 Convocation. As I shared with you then, I don’t believe our greatest challenge is a financial deficit … it’s a courage deficit.

And we can do something about that. You can. I can. We can.

Your courageous living as seen in your mind and character matters most. Courage is the quality of mind and character that enables you to face difficulty and opposition without fear. Let the Spirit speak to you this weekend. Our world needs a generation that lives in godly courage. Be that generation.

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