September 11, 2001 changed everything.
Most people know exactly where they were when the attacks occurred, how they first heard about it, and what they felt. Memories of 9/11 are especially poignant for those who were in New York City at the time. The president of Chosen People Ministries, Dr. Mitch Glaser, is a native New Yorker and vividly remembers what it was like to live through and minister in the midst of the tragedy of 9/11:
“I was sitting in my office when I heard our receptionist shout, ‘Oh my God, a plane flew into the World Trade Center!’ I ran down the stairs to see the smoke, the fire, and an extraordinary amount of dust darkening the autumn sky.
“At first, like so many, we thought it was an accident but quickly realized that the worst was most likely true when another plane crashed into the second tower at 9:03 am. There was now no mistaking that our beloved New York City was under attack. We were evidently at war, but there were no soldiers to be seen. Some of our other staff heard the commotion and came downstairs to join us in the reception room where our eyes were glued to the television. We watched, stunned, distraught, some of us weeping, and then the unthinkable happened—the first building crumbled to the ground like a ragamuffin doll.
“Soon after, the second tower also crumbled to the ground, and we began to fear for our lives though we [were] at least fifty blocks away from the destruction taking place before our very eyes. We prayed and wept for those who obviously perished in the flames of this massive destruction of the Twin Towers—a symbol of wealth, power.
“We saw the dazed survivors covered in dust running from the site and, slowly but surely, we began to see a police presence in the area. We sent two of our staff members, one a doctor and the other a nurse, to help at the hospital. But there was no one to help because there were very few survivors.
“We spent the next few days serving the first responders by bringing them food, clothing, and other essentials as they diligently and sacrificially rummaged for survivors and began the long, slow work of repairing the massive damage done to our downtown and the soul of our great city. We also stopped all of our regular ministries and spent our time praying for those waiting to hear updates about their loved ones as they gathered in Union Square and various other parts of the city.
“I personally sensed both terror and the mercy of God through the tragedy, as did so many others. My children were travelling by subway from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side to go to school. I was at our 51st Street office, and as I watched the second tower fall, I did not know if one of my daughters might have been affected as she may very well have been travelling underground at that moment.
“We had no idea of the extent of the attack or potential catastrophic damage caused by the terrorists. It so happened that one of our subway stops was demolished by the fall of the towers. I must tell you that there was nothing more frightening than not knowing whether my children were dead or alive.”
To hear Mitch’s full story and learn from first responders and others who experienced 9/11, watch our conference, 9/11 and the New Middle East.
Through worship, corporate prayer and remembrance, and the testimonies of speakers who were there, we grew in our knowledge of 9/11 and how it has changed the world. We also gained insights into the present-day Middle East by developing a biblical view of the region. Click here to watch!