September 11th: A Day Meant for Unity

As we all know, today is the ninth anniversary of the falling of the Twin Towers in New York City. I can remember thinking how horrible of a day that was, but I never would have thought that such a horrendous action could result in the unification of a people. For the next few years, September 11th was certainly remembered as the day the buildings collapsed, but it was also a day when the United Stated stood together.

Sadly, only nine years later, we stand divided once again. Muslim leaders are attempting to build a Mosque no more than two or three blocks away from Ground Zero, and this has made people who call themselves Christians outraged. In fact, Terry Jones, an evangelical Pastor from Florida, planned to burn copies of the Koran in protest of the Mosque construction. Is that truly the message we Christians wish to portray? (Thankfully, he has reconsidered and cancelled this act of hatred)

In the midst of political and religious division, brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces continue to protect our freedoms every day. Under their refuge, we are able to guide our students as co- guardian angels. While they guard them physically, we guard them spiritually and academically. This is true unity. This is what September 11th should honor.

May the following story passed on to me by a colleague pay tribute to those who are called to protect and serve.

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the School Superintendent, the Principal and the Building Supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

‘Ms.. Cothren, where’re our desks?’

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’

‘No,’ she said.

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’

She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period… Still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk less classroom, Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall…. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’

Live Jesus in our hearts forever!

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