Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

And Then Came the Miracles

Jackie K. Cooper


This past week was the anniversary of “9/11.” Each year I promise myself I am not going to watch the tributes or the rehashes of those awful events, and each year I find myself drawn to the television set. I watch the planes crash into the Twin Towers one more time and I see the grief stricken people who waited for news of loved ones. It is traumatic to watch but it is also somehow necessary.

This year as I watched I learned more about the aftermath of the tragedies. There were numerous stories about people who had turned their lives around after the events of that day. People testified that after surviving, they felt they had to do something special with their lives and in many, many cases it was work which was in service to others.

This year it seemed I learned more about “miracles” that had occurred on that day. One story I followed concerned a lawyer who had been trapped in one of the towers. He and another person had been led down to safety by a firefighter. It was a perilous journey and the lawyer said if it had not been for the firefighter, he would have never made it down and would surely not have survived.

A few months after September 11, the attorney’s daughter got married. The lawyer said when they were making out the guest list that he knew he wanted to invite the fireman and his wife. And they did. There was video of the reception where the attorney introduced the fireman as the man who saved his life. The fireman tried to play it down and said he really hadn’t done that much. The attorney insisted the miraculous escape had been due to the fireman.

Later in another TV show a woman was interviewed who had been part of a group of fourteen who had been in a stairwell in the Marriott Hotel when both towers collapsed. The Marriott Hotel was a building between the two towers. That these fourteen people survived was a clear miracle, as they were in the absolute best spot at the absolute right time.

The fact the stairwell was a reinforced area was what had saved their lives. They were in there when both towers went down and crushed everything underneath them.

There were other stories about people surviving when by all odds they should not have. There were stories about families being reunited in miraculous ways. Then there were the stories of unbelievable heroism where people sacrificed their lives in order to save others. Those were miracles, too.

As painful as it is to look back, there is a reason. In the view of this awful, terrible tragedy we can gather together moments of heroism, faith and dedication. The survival of anyone involved in these tragedies is a miracle; the sacrifice by any person to help another is heroism of the highest order; and the ability for our nation to recover and move forward is a testament to faith in the future. So we should look back if only as a way to enhance our vision of the future.

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Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. His short stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio. He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for various events. Cooper has authored five books: Journey of a Gentle Southern Man, Chances and Choices, Halfway Home, The Bookbinder, and The Sunrise Remembers.

Visit his website, or email Jackie.

© Jackie K. Cooper

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2010