by Shirley Lawson-Carr
When I heard of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, fear pierced my heart—my daughter-in-law, Dana, worked in one of the towers. In a day before cellphones were considered
essential, it was hours before we received word she was safe. She was able to get away before the
building fell and walked nearly 100 blocks to catch the ferry to her home in New Jersey.
Grateful Dana had been spared, I wanted to help others however I could. In December, I volunteered
for two weeks in the giant feeding tent at Ground Zero, serving food, cleaning tables and working in the warehouse section filling orders to go to the rehydration sites. Several times during my service a bell sounded to indicate a body had been found in the rubble and we observed a moment of silence out of respect for the dead. Those were emotional moments for all of us.
It wasn’t until I was assigned to drive a Gator to deliver food and drinks to the crews working around
the pit that I witnessed the devastation first-hand. As I navigated around broken asphalt and piles of
debris, at times having to search for a way through to my destination, I was struck by the despair all around me. Memorials lined the streets; people grieved and owners of closed businesses stood outside the destroyed buildings still in shock. It was humbling. Though I could go into the pit, I declined. The destruction on the streets was more than enough for me.
In the midst of sorrow and devastation, I also saw God’s mercy and faithfulness as He provided what
each of us needed to carry on. I was blessed to meet and work with some amazing, selfless people, including two with whom I have remained friends the past 20 years. As I reflect on that awful day and the opportunity I had to serve, I am in awe of how God sustained us, brought us together and worked through us in that terrible circumstance. He is good.