What made you who you are today?

Published 12:15 pm Sunday, September 10, 2023

What events in your life made you who you are today?

For some people, those are easily defined — the day a parent or child died; the birth of a child or grandchild; a wedding or engagement; a separation, whether permanent or temporary; a new job or a retirement; a medical diagnosis or a miraculous healing; a major relocation or connecting with a new friend; or the day your belief system changed. For others, those moments may be more subtle, and harder to identify. 

What about for a nation — for the United States in particular? What moments define the history of our nation?

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

A Britannica.com article attempted to list 26 decade-defining events, but acknowledged that choosing events is arbitrary. “Trying to identify any single event as crucial to the understanding of a given decade may be even more arbitrary. It is certainly subjective.”

Here are a few of the events the article listed: The signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776; the Louisiana Purchase in 1803; the stock market crash of 1929; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945; the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968; the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; and the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020.

One of these that left its indelible mark on me was the day of the ISIS attacks in 2001. I held my not-quite 3-month-old daughter in my arms as I watched replay after replay of planes crashing and people dying or panicking.

My heart sank and I held tightly to the warm bundle of hope and love in my embrace. Before long, my living room was filled with people holding hands, weeping and praying. We were fighting fear with faith, and calling out to God for hope and healing.

That now-22-year-old daughter never experienced what the U.S. was like pre-9/11. She has no recollection of those days prior to that event that changed our nation forever.

I was 30, and in the years since, so many things have changed — some better, some not so much — because of what happened that day. Like it or not, or even notice it or not, life in general in America is different post-9/11 than what it was pre-9/11. That’s just a fact. It influences how we live and operate in this nation where our citizenship is.

But as a Christian, my primary citizenship is elsewhere. I have a home “in glory,” with the Creator God. My life is completely different since I gave my life to Jesus than it was before that day. Some of it I don’t really notice, because I was a child when it happened back in ’79, but so much is easy to see. The way I think about things, the way I want to relate to other people, the things I think of as important — all of these things are different because what happened the day of my salvation changed me. It now influences how I live and operate every single day. I’m not always happy with my actions or thoughts, but I am grateful for the God who changed me and gave me that new opportunity to live for Him.

Sept. 11, 2001, changed me, no doubt. But a day in September 1979 changed my life so much more.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.om.