ERTAIN EVENTS AFFECT US SO PROFOUNDLY THAT WE CAN REMEMBER exactly where we were when they happened. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy, for instance (November 1963); the first moon landing (July 1969); 9/11 (September 2001). And the bigger the story, the greater the need to repeat it.
Hence the monthslong, wall-to-wall coverage following 9/11 in the United States and around the world. Hundreds of millions of printed words; thousands of commentaries and interviews; and untold millions of retelling—in restaurants, classrooms, clubs, churches, and every other place people gather. In time, however, people become saturated; and by some unwritten law, the story fades from the headlines.
Yet after a while we find ourselves wanting to hear it again—in whole or in part.
So as I read the book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan on the Bush administration (What Happened: Inside the Bush White House), I found myself transfixed as he recounted the experience of the president and his entourage down in Florida as 9/11 struck. It was captivating to hear again—and from an insider—how the president first learned of the humongous tragedy while reading to students in a Sarasota public school; to hear again about the circuitous route Air Force One followed back to Washington; and how the shutting down of the U.S. airspace stranded McClellan and the bulk of the White House press corps in Sarasota, forcing them to make the trip back by chartered bus—a 17-hour journey. Fascinating to hear it all again!
And there’s an old story that comes around this time each year—the story of an event that forecasts the abolishment of 9/11 and every other tragedy that plagues this planet. During this Christmas season may we hear it once again—with fresh excitement!
Roy Adams is associate editor of the Adventist Review. This article was printed December 17, 2009.