I woke up this morning to the sound of a helicopter hovering overhead. It sounded just the same as this day last year. We had just moved here from Alabama two weeks before. I was getting ready to go to a job interview, and I could hear the garbage truck rumbling through our subdivision. The truck noise got louder and then suddenly we heard a boom that shook our house. My first thought was that the truck had run up on the curb and actually struck our house, but then I looked out our bedroom windows. Beyond the houses on the other side of the retention pond was a thick column of black smoke. I could see flames in the column as well. Although we didn't know it until later, a small plane had crashed into two houses in our subdivision. While I was still struggling to grasp what was going on, my husband had already pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. In the time it took him to run two blocks, anyone that was going to be rescued from the crash was already out. He took several pictures, including the one posted here, and my son emailed them to one of the local news stations. As I remember, we were still so new here that we had to look up the different news channels in the phonebook.
In no time we heard the sirens of emergency vehicles responding to the crash. Our subdivision was blocked off and our streets were lined with emergency vehicles and news vans. There were satellite dishes on top of vans as far as the eye could see when you looked out our second story window. Then the phone started ringing. The people in our church started calling as the news got out, wanting to know if we were okay. Then other news agencies started calling, asking my husband's permission to use his photos in their reports. An information command center was set up right next to our house, and we watched from the windows as news conferences were aired throughout the day. After receiving copies of Terry's pictures, CNN and FOX news called to interview him over the phone. The the phone started ringing with friends in Alabama, Texas and Michigan who heard his interview.
It's supposed to be 95 degrees today. It was blisteringly hot last year too. We ended up opening our home to emergency workers and news personnel so they could have a cool refuge from the heat, an occasional cold drink of water and the use of a restroom. On an interesting side note, we had one person come in to use our restroom. Five minutes later we saw them on our television, airing a live update right outside our home.
The lives of five people ended that day. Three families were altered forever. Some are still trying to recover from the physical injuries inflicted. There is a memorial scheduled this morning and another this evening at the crash site.
The events from one year ago emphasize some absolutes of life. One is that life here on earth ends eventually, and we're not always expecting it. If something were to happen to you today, do you know where you would spend eternity? The Bible tells us that everyone ends up in one of two places: Heaven or Hell. According to Romans 3:23, no matter who we are--good or bad--our righteousness is still not good enough to get us into heaven. Romans 6:23 says that the wages or payment for sin is death. That verse also tells us that Jesus gives us the gift of eternal life. Romans 5:8 says that Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, died in our place to pay for our sins. Romans 10:13 lets us know that all we have to do is accept God's gift in order for us to go to heaven. I've accepted His payment for my sin. I know I'm going to heaven. How about you?