My brother Brady was a presidential management intern working in naval intelligence at the US Pentagon when the attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred. I was working in Idaho, USA, at the time, and when I saw the news that morning about what had happened, I called my boss to let him know I would not be coming to work for several days.
A few members of my family gathered in Washington, D.C., at a hotel ballroom that government officials had designated as a briefing room, where they could update the families on the ongoing recovery efforts. We waited day after day to learn whether Brady had been among the victims. The feeling in that environment was one of insurmountable grief and hopelessness. Yet our family banded together and prayed that whatever happened, we would not lose our faith.
Nearly one week after the attacks, on September 17, we received confirmation that Brady had died.
I don’t know that I ever asked, “Why me?” But I certainly asked, “Why him?” From the time I was a child, I had loved, admired, and wanted to be just like Brady. I also wondered, “Why now?” For several weeks, Brady had been planning a trip to Idaho to spend time with family. He was scheduled to come on Thursday, September 13, just two days after he had died.
The first evening back at work after returning to Idaho, I opened my professional e-mail account, which I hadn’t done since September 10. There in my inbox was a message from Brady. He had sent it Tuesday morning, just before the attack. In it he talked about our getting together and all the fun things we had planned. When he signed off, he simply wrote, “Peace.”
That wasn’t how Brady usually ended his e-mails, but I count it as a tender mercy of the Lord that he did so. I don’t think Brady knew what was going to happen, but I love that his last words—his last word—to me was peace.
Even now, more than a decade later, I occasionally reread that e-mail. Every time I do, I am reminded that it is through the gospel that we can find the peace the Savior promised: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Of course I still miss Brady, but because of the gospel, I have not lost my faith to this trial. Through the help of the Savior, I have been able to move forward with hope and with peace.