Who could have known what Sept. 11, 2001, would bring as sunbeams pierced the crisp blue sky that morning.

Editor's note: Mormon Times asked readers how the events of 9/11 has a spiritual impact on their lives. First in a series.

I remember the impressions of Sept. 11, 2001, so well, but the memories are jumbled up in emotion rather than logic. I had left my position with the school system to pursue a less-complicated, more peaceful writer's life. Or so I thought, until I turned on the news and saw the loop of the attack on the towers.

We live in the Washington, D.C., hot zone between the biological-weapon storehouse at Fort Detrick and the underground Pentagon to the north. My mind immediately ran an inventory of our family members. The phone lines were jamming, and hearing each voice was mission one. From family, our thoughts turned to friends.

I couldn’t tear myself from the news as the great symbols of America’s financial, military and political strength fell victim to the attacks. Never before had I felt so vulnerable. Never before had I felt so angry.

The president I most wanted to hear was President Gordon B. Hinckley’s warm reassurance. I slipped to my knees and prayed to Heavenly Father. It was a disjointed, jumbled plea for protection — for family, for country, for the leaders who would have to sort this all out.

I was grateful for the counsel to prepare, grateful for a living prophet, grateful for the organization of the LDS Church in the event we would need to protect and care for one another and our neighbors. And in the event of catastrophe, I was grateful for my Savior and the plan of salvation that would make everything all right.

The next day, fear and fright turned to defiant patriotism. The lines at the fabric store swelled as I waited in lines with others hungry for some scrap of ribbon to show our unity. Every face became a friend. Every hand seemed outstretched.

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Churches swelled and prayers were welcomed in every venue. The Book of Mormon scriptures about America as the land of promise, and the warnings in Ether 9 against the danger of secret combinations bent on overthrowing liberty and freedom, became personal. I became enamored with history, seeing connections between American history and the scriptures and in the lives of the Smith family, recognizing God’s hand in the formation and preservation of America as she was being prepared to become the cradle of the Restoration.

I realized that mother or father, soldier or civilian, we are each the guardians of liberty, for freedom requires faith and faith requires freedom to flourish.

Laurie LC Lewis is the author of the historical fiction series "Free Men and Dreamers," which will be completed this October with the release of volume 5, "In God Is Our Trust."