Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Flight 93 Memorial

January 10th this East Coast girl headed west. Mid-west, anyway. Detroit to be specific. What reason could I possibly have to wander to that part of the country, you ask? We will get to that in the next post. First, let me tell you a story.

Months of planning proceeded this weekend trip. Okay, so we didn't actively plan for months but we did know for nine months this trip was coming and there was no way we were going to miss it. January weather is notoriously unpredictable. We watched the weather faithfully and were more than a little thankful when absolutely no form of precipitation was predicted. Until the day before. When talk of ice began. Lots of ice. Ice storm. Predicted to begin right around the time we were supposed to hit the road. We prayed like crazy that it would warm up. Friday, January 10th we awoke to...ice. Super slick driveway, roads, cars...everything. But God is incredibly good and by 10AM it was 33 degrees, the roads were clear and we were ready to roll.

We went along our merry way...singing, reading, listening to music and audio books and generally enjoying everything about the road trip. (Except the view which, let's face it, isn't all that great along the interstates.) And then...oh, bother...a sign for an accident. Turnpike closed. Hours of traffic. Not fun. We pulled off at Starbucks for coffee which, of course, would be absolutely necessary for hours of turnpike traffic. And there, right in front of us in the coffee line, was a truck driver. A truck driver who knew the back roads. And, more importantly, knew an alternate route which completely avoided the turnpike.

Coffee in hand, we set off on the new route. The roads were crazy. Endless hills. Run away truck ramps. Fog. And the most beautiful scenery.


I saw bison. Yeah, like real live bison. Honestly, I didn't even know bison were still around. :)
And then we saw a sign for a national park. Two minutes later we saw another sign:
We were already behind schedule due to our late start and detour but how can you pass such a piece of our nation's history, such a beautiful example of heroism and patriotism and not stop?
A few summers ago I read Let's Roll by Lisa Beamer. It was the first time I had thought much about  Flight 93 and reading that book was a life changing experience. To see the actual site made every detail of the story come to mind fresh and made the whole event so very real.
 This gateway leads to the field of the crash site. A beautiful picture of the gate those heroic few walked through as they entered immortality. 
 The wall of names.
This is equally saddening and joyful. To think that child first opened his eyes in Jesus' presence. I am so grateful this little one was included on the wall.
 The field of the crash site has been cleared and returned to it's former condition. This rock was already there when the crash occurred. It's almost like God Himself placed this memorial.
Seeing the Flight 93 memorial was incredibly sobering. Such a poignant reminder of a few people, often overlooked, who gave their lives for the sake of their country. These weren't soldiers. These were everyday citizens, many from my Grandmother's town in New Jersey. Because of them this flag is still waving above the Pennsylvania treeline. 
Sobered and refocused, we were on the road again.   
Late that night (much later than our 3PM goal) we rolled into Detroit.
Here's the thing: We arrived at our destination. We went from point A to point B and landed exactly where we knew we would. We didn't get there how we thought we would or in our time frame. But it turned out what God had planned for our trip was better than anything we could have planned. We all mentioned later how perfect everything about the trip was and how it was one of the best road trips we've taken in a long time.

It's kinda like life, isn't it? We have our goals. And sometime (a lot of times) we get so caught up on achieving our goal by our method that we miss the stops God has planned for us along the way. We have in our minds a set time frame and are so driven to be "on time" we don't take time to appreciate the back roads. To learn a lesson or two. To be sobered and reminded of great heroes. 

That is what God has been teaching me in the past several months and that is what He illustrated, in the simplest of ways, on a road trip to Michigan. 

Cheers, 
-näna

Up next: The Great Michigan Trip, part two.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this makes me cry just seeing the pictures. So neat that you stopped there.

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