Nine eleven. These two words have taken on new meaning in the past dozen years. When I hear them spoken or see the odd integers my mind immediately goes to that horrific September day in 2001.

I clearly remember where I was when I heard the news that a plane had hit the WorldTradeCenter in New York. The pictures that would follow in the next hours and days are etched indelibly in my mind. I suspect that is true of just about everyone reading this.

That day- 9/11/01- changed our nation and our world. Things have not been the same since then and they will never return to what they were before that fateful day. The devastation and losses sustained in those few hours have colored our history in deep shades of black. The effects are more far reaching than can be comprehended.

Yesterday, we remembered and mourned the losses of 9-11 and we continue to live in its shadow.

Nine eleven has another meaning in my family. Our oldest son was born on September 11, 1971. That date has been special to us for forty-two years. Its significance is drastically different from the tragedy of the terrorist attacks 12 years ago. The birth of our first child signaled new life and joy for my wife and me. The thrill of becoming parents is indescribable and watching him grow and mature into a fine man, husband, and father is rewarding beyond words.

Life is a series of tragedies and triumphs. Victories and defeats. Privileges and paradoxes. Some of life’s experiences are so horrible that words cannot describe them. I continue to mourn all that was lost on the day the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell and the planes crashed in rural Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. And the price that is paid every day for those unbelievable events. They cannot ever be forgotten.

But tragedy must not rule our lives. Disaster must not dominate our minds.

Life also has a way of providing us with experiences that are wonderfully exhilarating. They come right alongside the unpleasant and unthinkable. While these moments do not negate the negative effects of other experiences, they do compensate for the pain. We hold both in our hearts. The good times and the bad.

So on September 11 every year I will remember the lives that were lost in 2001 and the dramatic effect of that day’s events on personal and international relationships. I will continue to pray that hatred and violence will not rule the world. I will work to do my part to the end that peace will prevail in the hearts and minds of all people of all nations.

I will celebrate the birth of my son and the hope that life in the future will be more just and peaceful for him and all people of the earth. I will continue to pray that God’s peaceful reign on earth will be realized fully.

Jamie Jenkins