It was a beautiful day. It really was. My children were still little. They were only 1, 2, and 7. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. The temperature was perfect. Just like it is today. They always woke me up early so we had already eaten breakfast. I had playfully gotten them dressed and their little tricycles had made several runs up and down the brick paver driveway, leaving little marks like chalk across a hundred foot long chalkboard. I remember thinking I should really get the hose out and wash those off. When the phone rang, it was my brother. I took it out and sat in the grass, wishing I had thought to bring a towel. It was still all wet from the morning dew. All he said, was..."Where are you? Take the kids inside right now, and turn the television on." I protested because it was such a beautiful day and nothing could be that important. Details that became hyper important in my mind afterward, no longer background noise, but the melancholy soundtrack to one of the darkest days in American history.
For the next few days and even weeks, I, and nearly every one else in America and around the world, did not turn the television off. We couldn't bear to watch, and we couldn't bear not to. I had only been living in New York for 3 months at that point, and watching the people in my state fall to their knees in despair is something I will never forget. Ever. I was one of them. I am one of them. We were under attack and I was home alone with three small children not knowing for sure if our lives were directly in danger. Meanwhile, a young mother much like myself was anxiously waiting by the phone, when her husband called from Flight 93 and her world changed completely and forever. So much of that month was surreal for me. I can only imagine what it was like for the women whose husbands were on that plane.
We picked ourselves up from those ashes but it was not easy in any way, shape, or form. It was incredibly painful. The date, September 11th is no longer just an ordinary pre-fall day when we wake up and go outside to play blissfully unaware of anything darker in the world. It is a day to remember. And it will always be that way now. For as long as we live.
I am not going to make some trite statement about how we are strong and we rose up from the ashes. We did do that because we had to do that. We all do that. We carry on, when bad things happen because that is what we HAVE to do. Life goes on... I know this. But I'm not going to say that today. Today, I am going to remind myself that while, for many of us, life did go on eventually, business as usual, there are those whose lives went on very differently after that day. And the least we can do, is recognize the courage and strength that took. To cry with them. To remember with them. To honor the memory of that day. And to pray diligently for our nation.
Listening to the stories even if we cry.