Its happened every year for the last nine years. I remember where I was standing, how my heart felt like it would stop beating then explode from my chest at the same time. I remember the panic of not feeling safe anywhere. I remember the sobbing and the nightmares, the flags, the eerily empty and quiet night skies. I remember the look on my dad's face and the way he watched things unfold in the days that followed. I saw him cry, and desperately try to help. I held my baby a little tighter and prayed a little harder. I could give you the play back, but we all have that. We know how it looked - we've seen it over, and over and over again. I don't need to paint you a picture that you already own because whether you live in Manhattan, Indiana, Canada, Australia, or Japan, you've seen the pictures. You've heard the story and you know where you were. It shaped the world. It shaped each of us and is embedded in our lives forever.
Ryan was fifteen months old when the planes flew into the Twin Towers. He has absolutely no recollection of a life different than it is now. He lived through it and came out blissfully unaware of the chaos and uncertainty that followed that day. As I sat at my computer and cried over a video and the stories I read this morning, he only knew that once upon a time, there was a day called September 11th and something happened. He doesn't remember a time when this world felt any different and I started thinking, I don't remember anymore either.
That's not completely true. I remember not having to take off my shoes at the airport and not thinking that the Sears Tower could come crashing down if some maniac jackass decides he wants to take it. (Its called some other stupid name now, but to me, its the Sears Tower. I refuse to change that.) Its been nine years and we have lived our lives much the same way but with a new layer of fear on top of things. We see things differently, trust things either more or less. We hope and love on an entirely different plane than we ever did before 9/11.
We saw this country come together when it should have fallen apart. We learned to love better. To work together. We learned what was really important, how to share, how to care and how to let things go. While I think it is imperative that we never forget what happened and what we lost, I think it is equally import to remember what we gained.