Today marks the twelfth anniversary of a date etched into the memory of every American old enough to remember—9/11/01.

I’m so thankful to be an American. I love my country, and I’m thankful for God’s grace upon her.

As I reflect on this tragic day, five thoughts come to mind:

  1. Heroes are often unsung. Through the horrific and chaotic collapse of the World Trade Centers, an unsung army of heroes revealed their courage and bravery—our first responders. Before 9/11, when I thought of national heroes, I thought of statesmen or our armed forces. But today, I count our first responders in the same list. The events of this day and the answering courage of our first responders should remind us that there are many heroes whose individual names we may never know. Their willingness to sacrifice for others without credit is what makes them so honorable.
  2. Freedom is still costly. Freedom has never been free. Not in 1776, not in 2001, and not in 2013. I’m thankful for the men and women who fight to preserve our freedom even today. What we endured eleven years ago is regular occurrence for others around the world. Freedom is a costly gift, and I thank God for it.
  3. Forgetfulness is one of our greatest dangers. I remember the overwhelming sense of vulnerability we felt. Suddenly, churches were full, and people everywhere were praying. But this sense of dependence upon God soon faded. Today, our nation deliberately and boastfully moves further and further from God. Scripture records the tragic consequences when nations forget God. I pray we will remember and turn to Him in a national revival.
  4. Patriotism comes in many shapes. The overwhelming response of unified patriotism in the wake of 9/11 was stirring. Everyone wanted to help, and many gave to the relief funds set up for families of the victims. From the president to the first responders to the military to the common American citizen, millions showed their patriotic colors in a variety of shapes and sizes. I believe that two of the most patriotic acts we can do for our nation today are not typically thought of as patriotic. They are to pray for revival and to preach the gospel.
  5. Revival is our greatest need today. I pray we will never again be caught by surprise or endure a terrorist attack on our soil. I don’t believe, however, that our greatest national threat is attack by terrorists. I believe it is the national rejection of God. Psalm 32:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…” I believe that, and I pray our nation will return to the Lord.

As we remember 9/11/01, may we also look forward and pray for God to heal our land—not militarily or politically, but spiritually.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.—2 Chronicles 7:14

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