By Todd Brady
Vice President for University Ministries, Union University
My job is filled with days that often include a front row seat to good things that are happening in this up-and-coming generation. Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 was one of those days.
Young Americans for Freedom, a student group at Union University, held a brief memorial service at 7 a.m. outside by the Miller Towers to remember the events of 9.11.01 and to pray together.
Before the event, they had planted 100 small American flags in the ground. We started by listening to President George W. Bush’s bullhorn speech at Ground Zero in New York City. Those familiar words brought back memories and emotions and caused a chill to go down my back. “I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn.”
Nineteen years ago, the nation was on bended knee. Nineteen years later, it sure was good to be a part of a group of students at Union University who were on bended knee.
They mentioned that the death count of 9/11 is reported as 2,996, but I was encouraged that they also recognized and mourned the 11 reported unborn children who also lost their lives that day.
Let’s think about this. Most of these students were in diapers on Sept. 11, 2001. For them, it’s history. They don’t remember the pre-TSA, pre-homeland security America.
In 2001, since we went to church together, I regularly talked to Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS. At that time, he was a member of the House of Representatives. After the attacks happened, I called Senator Wicker in Washington, D.C. and asked if he would be back to be in church on Sunday. He said that if he could get back, he would. He was able to be back, and he led us that day in prayer. We all reminded ourselves of the words of Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way….” It was a powerful service.
I shared with the students about my recollections from the day, and I told them about my conversations with Senator Wicker. After speaking to the group, we all prayed. We prayed for the families of those who lost loved ones in the attacks, along with praying for leaders in today’s government.
Talk about inspiring. Most of the students who were there have no memory of 9/11. But what they do have is a love for God and a realization that our nation’s greatest need is God Himself. As I listened to them pray, my eyes were wet.
I sent a note to Senator Wicker along with a picture of us at the Memorial Service to let him know that he and others can be encouraged by what is happening at a school called Union University in Jackson.
Students like this fill me with hope as I think about our nation. May God raise up more like them.