Don Kesner

It was 20 years ago, Sept. 11, 2001, that I was standing in my living room with a cup of coffee in hand when I saw it come across my television screen.

I was catching up on the news just before heading into work at the Hampshire Review. I tried to stay up on the latest national news and more importantly how it would affect our small town.

Every station was focused in on the events taking place in our nation. I must admit that I really didn’t expect that day’s national news to have such an impact locally, but I, like nearly everyone that day. suddenly felt that our lives would never be the same. Within a matter of minutes the unbelievable events that unfolded left us shaken to the core.

I had taken teams of volunteers to New York City on numerous occasions to work with the homeless and always after completing our tasks of handing out food, coats and blankets and praying with many of them we would take the team on a tour of the city. The 1st stop of interest was the World Trade Centers, located in lower Manhattan. Over the years I watched between 200 and 300 team members load onto the elevators and ride to the observation deck on the 110th floor.

Oddly enough, I never took that ride myself. Team members would taunt me in a light-hearted way, always asking, “what’s gonna happen? If (they) thought it wasn’t safe they wouldn’t let all these people go up there.”

And they were right. No one would have ever expected anything like the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Two massive towers made of mortar and steel, 2 airplanes and in a matter of mere minutes there was nothing left but giant heaps of melted steel and ash covering the streets below while thick black bellows of smoke darkened the skyline of that magnificent city.

My breath literally left me that morning as news reporters informed us that this attack was deliberate and deadly — the work of terrorists. War had crossed the ocean and was now on our own soil.

Two additional airplanes had also been hijacked with one being flown into the Pentagon and the other headed for our nation’s capital city. We found out via the media that a number of brave passengers decided to take back the 4th plane and force it down before it could be flown into its intended target, with the terrorists attempting to take out many of our nation’s leaders.

In a little corner of a large field in Shanksville, Pa., there is now a memorial built in honor of all those brave individuals who downed that plane and died to save many who may have been killed had they done nothing.

No I will never forget, whether it be 20 years or if I would live for 200 years. Our nation joined together and prayed and fought back, refusing to give in to the monsters who killed over 3,000 individuals that day. Unfortunately the war for our nation is not over.

The nation we live in today is a far cry from the nation I grew up in. I worry for our kids and grandkids. And I wonder if in the next 20 years, we will still be able to fly our sacred flag, or if we will still be able to keep our slogan of, “In God We Trust” in our sacred Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1963 we were shocked to suddenly find out that there would be no more prayer in schools. Churches and Christians in general let the fire go out. Spiritual darkness got a strong foothold and the enemy our God hasn’t stopped fighting since. This is spiritual warfare and Christians must fight it with prayer.

 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

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