Good Friday to you friend,
This morning I was ready to go with a topic for this week's grateful message and then I processed what today was.. not the week, but specifically today.
Two years ago I wrote something important to me during the week of 9/11. Over the course of 180 weekly messages I have never just pretty much copied an older post from the past. However given the significance of today, it feels wrong to talk about anything else.
I remember and I will never forget...
It's amazing to me how fast 19 years can go by... if time were my child, they'd now be going on 20 and would be an adult... not old enough to have a beer with,
old enough to have joined the military and be protecting our wonderful country... old enough to be a first responder protecting our community... old enough to be a parent to small children perhaps...
Old enough to truly process the story I have to tell in a way a child just cannot.
19 years ago today was a day that forever changed our nation... I am certain that the generation who lived through September 11, 2001, feels the same level of loss, heartbreak, frustration and vulnerability to the generation who lived through Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I remember it was before Facebook, before decent cellphones and even text messaging. CD players were still the rave still and the internet was a baby. MP3's and MP4's hadn't been invented and cars didn't have backup cameras that could parallel park themselves...
I remember taking the long drive into school that day... I was in college... ironically that morning I accidentally drove right into the airport not knowing anything had already happened. Planes had already been grounded and it was quiet. I didn't connect the dots of that morning until later that day.
I remember pulling into the school parking lot listening to the radio. Just as the song had ended the DJ started talking about what had happened in New York... yet I still didn't process what was going on. I remember trying to be in school and do the work that day... our class was stupid small... 90% of the students dropped out. There were 5 of us I think. The teacher wheeled out the TV on the big moving TV tube carts into class. Flat screen TV's hadn't been invented yet.. I remember watching the news... until then we thought it was an accident with the first plane. I remember physically watching the second plane hit... I remember how this didn't seem right... two planes... on 9-11?? what's happening I thought. I remember it was a horrible feeling. Our teacher had to keep us on track and we had to ultimately remove ourselves from the TV and get back to work.. I remember it sucked... thankfully we all were released early due to the day. I remember driving home listening to talk radio (which I never did)... it was a quiet drive home. I remember later that evening the local news reported that there were no car accidents... I could only assume that everyone was a mental mess watching and hearing from a distance. I remember how horrifying it was... even being 2,400 miles away. The loss, the pain, the confusion, the heroism, the patriotism... I remember working at Home Depot... by the time I got underway with my work shift all the American Flags had been sold out. As I write that I have chills.... I don't know why, but that sentence of all the ones in this post right now, that gave me chills... I remember telling countless customers that we were sold out of the American Flags. You could see the pain as they asked yet they felt comforted that everyone else had that same idea. I remember days after how American we all were...how one we were. We all were in pain, we all were hurt and mad... but, we all got along.. we were here for each other. I remember how united people talked about America and our Nation. I remember how no one bad mouthed the president or argued over politics.. maybe it's because Facebook hadn't been invented yet allowing people's ugly side to be shown.. I don't know.. but we were one. I remember how horrible that day was and I will never forget it. I remember how fortunate I felt to have not known anyone lost on that fateful day... but I will never forget how I felt for my friends who lost someone they knew.
I will never forget the desperation of others as they took their life that day. I will never forget how other countries felt for our Nation and how this affected our entire world.
I will never forget how we came together, across the nation, to be here for each other, to be as one.
I will never forget hearing about the incredible stories of people saving others, leading others, and giving their life for others. I remember that a few took their own lives to terrorize thousands... I will never forget that hundreds ran into the terror to save thousands... I will never forget the life taken,
I will never forget the life given, I remember.... I will never forget.