Last summer, I visited the 9/11 Memorial for the first time. Actually experiencing being there was nothing short of amazing- seeing all the names of those we lost, my fingertips gently grazing some of their names while I was silently saying prayers for each of them, hearing the peacefulness and tranquility of the waterfalls; feeling the same emotions strike me that I felt that day -maybe even a tad bit harder by actually being there. I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that people had died right where I was standing, that the streets I was walking through to get there were the same streets that people were running for their lives- struggling to see, to breathe, to live…
These were the very same streets that the Heroes of New York were heading in the opposite direction, towards the buildings, towards the fires, towards the thousands of people who needed them and were counting on them. I cannot even fathom the anguish, the fear, the hopelessness that almost 3000 people felt that day right before they died; the unbearable pain and suffering that their families and friends endured- that they still endure.
I was pregnant with my son when I was there last year and I can remember having the painful realization that he was going to learn about 9/11 in a future History class. His generation and the generations to come will not know how each of us felt that fateful day, how we can all remember exactly what we were doing when we heard, how we all ran to put on the news and sat there numb, speechless, paralyzed while we witnessed the 2nd plane hit.
At the time, I was a somewhat sheltered 20-yr-old suburban college student whose biggest problem was what major I was going to declare and which party to attend the following Saturday night. Reality hit me in the face like a ton of bricks- panic slowly setting in with the realization that there are terrifying people in this world who hate America, who hate the Freedom that we stand for, who want to destroy us.
They didn’t though. They deeply wounded us, left us with abysmal scars, whipped us into a cold, hard, dark reality check- there is absolutely no denying that. They knocked us off our hinges for a long while, but we did not break. We did not crumble. United We Stand, strongly and proudly, as we remember those that we lost 13 years ago today. I know all of us live busy, hectic lives but remember to take a minute out of your day today and say a prayer to those that we lost.
Let them know that we remember, and that we will never ever forget…