Has it really been 15 years? In some ways September 11, 2001 seems like it a horrible nightmare that couldn’t have happened. In other ways it is still a fresh wound.
9/11 DID happen. And as the years go by, it is important to remember that day. An “ordinary” Tuesday morning that turned out to be anything but. A day when 2,996 people lost their lives. A day we need to remember. A day when we need to take time to honor those who lost their lives that day, were injured that day and/or died as a result of that day.
I did not know anyone personally who died that day. (I had never been as grateful that my father no longer worked in the city as I was that day. How many years did he pass through the World Trade Center to get to his job on Maiden Lane?) I did know a young first responder who by all rights should have lived and long and healthy life, but who instead died of a cancer that he never should have gotten. But that story is not mine to tell.
I think it is important, no matter what day of the week the 11th falls on, that we ALL take a moment to reflect on the day. We all lead busy lives, but we need to remember that life can change in an instant. We need to remember, in the horror of the day, what bravery was shown. How we, not just as a nation, but as a world, came together. We mourned together. We vowed to take care of one another. (Have we really upheld those vows? Or have they blown away like the dust of the buildings that fell that day?)
My son was not born until 2005, but I want him to realize the importance of this date. Not for fear, but for honor and respect.
To that end, I made sure that we paid a visit to the center of town today, where every year a meticulous display is put together. (Again, I do not know the name of the incredible volunteers that do this year after year, but know that your work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by me.) I may not have been there for the 8:45 a.m. ceremony, but late this afternoon I drove down with my family and a friend of my son and we slowly wandered. We solemnly walked around in awe of all the small flags that were planted on the ground. And we stood at the permanent 9/11 Memorial for a few minutes. (How many kids pass it every day on their way to the middle school? How many of us walk by? How many of us appreciate what it stands for?)
It has been 15 years. We cannot forget. We can NEVER forget. And as much as we remember the pain and horror, we need to remember that we recovered together as a nation. That we bonded together to heal. There are still wounds. We all need to continue to work together … and remember.