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  • Writer's pictureCharelle

For Such A Time As This

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

His name is Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand.

He was a flight attendant working United Airlines Flight #175 on September 11, 2001. The second plane that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center that tragic day.

I am privy to some information about him that I feel compelled to share each year. If it doesn't make a blog, you can be sure that I am telling someone about it. And, if 9/11 comes up in conversation throughout the year, odds are I am sharing this story.

Alfred retired from his career in law enforcement late in 2000. He came home from work one day and announced that he believed God was calling him to become a flight attendant. At 44 years old, the news came as a bit of a surprise to his family. He was certain that it was a direct call from God and was excited to fulfill his dream of travel.

I do not know details about his months as a flight attendant, but I do know he was thrilled with his new career. And, that on the morning of September 11, 2001, he and his wife parted after spending the weekend together in Boston. She headed home to New Mexico and he to Logan International Airport. His last words to her were, "Well, I guess this is goodbye."

And, then, just like that, his dream crashed to an end.

But, that is not the end of his story.

I know that many people had to suffer through the horror of that day and the dark days that followed going through the motions of their daily routines. At that point in my life, I was recovering from surgery and was home sans my daycare children. I was glued to the television.

Besides reports of what was happening at "Ground Zero," they were interviewing people who were searching for loved ones or wanted to talk about those lost. Alfred Marchand's wife and teenage son were among them. Mrs. Marchand spoke of her husband's career change and... well, to be honest, I don't remember what else she spoke of, but I was so impressed by her calm demeanor.

I will never forget though, the answer her son gave, nor the fleeting look of surprise on Tom Brokaw's face after he asked, "And how does it feel seeing that plane crash into the tower over and over again on television?"  

"I feel proud because I know God had my Dad on that plane for a reason." He went on to share that his Dad believed in God with all his heart and never hesitated to share our need for Jesus with everyone he met that he felt needed to know. He said his Dad's light shone so brightly that people naturally flocked to him. With a sense of peace that seemed to radiate from him, the boy explained he was proud because he knew in those last moments his Dad was sharing with anyone on that plane who needed to know how to go with him to heaven that day. At the ready to lead them to Christ.

There were other stories like Alfred's those first days, but this young man's visible peace in the midst of such chaos spoke volumes to my soul. Healing, for me, and I hope for all who saw him that day, had begun. For I knew that God had not forsaken us, but, until that moment, had not considered the fact that He was putting people and things in place long before that day. 

That's the heart of the matter.

God was prepared for 9/11. He was not caught unaware. He will never be caught unaware. He is everywhere, all the time. Believe that.

Joshua Marchand found a postcard of the World Trade Center in a shoe box just weeks after two jetliners slammed into the Twin Towers and killed his father. Underneath it was a Bible with an inscription written by his father. "Pretty soon I'm going to be in heaven, and you're going to be left to struggle here on Earth. Use this Bible for strength and wisdom in God. Love, Dad,"

God knew. And, although I'm sure He didn't divulge the whole plan, I believe He did let Alfred know that something was coming and he needed Alfred's help. Alfred Marchand was at the ready.

No matter what is happening in this crazy, mixed-up world know that God is in control. Bad things, horrific things are going to happen, but the Bible lets us know through the story of Joseph (Genesis 50:20) that God is aware of evil and will take it and turn it for good if we but trust Him. 

Let's trust Him.

Ultimately, God wants you to be with Him forever when you leave this earth. Have you assured that will happen? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you have not, come take a walk with me.

If you have, who do you know that hasn't?

Let's pick up the torch and carry on Alfred Marchand's legacy. Let's let our love for God shine like a beacon drawing others to us so we might share Jesus with them.

Feel free to leave your thoughts over on the Facebook page. 😊

See you next time~



Photo Credits:

Alfred Marchand Portrait:

Alfred's Police Hat & Badges: - You can learn a bit more about Alfred, as well. 😊

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