18 years ago, I didn’t have children. Heck, I wasn’t even married yet. Life was very different for me. And, on a quiet drive to work in the morning on September 11, 2001 I had no idea how to expect what would come next.
Shortly after we realized it was real (like, really real) my employer sent us home for the day. I don’t remember if we came back to work the next day or not. All I really remember was sitting on my couch not being able to take my eyes off of everything happening on TV. We knew it was real, but it didn’t seem that way.
It would be another two months before I would step foot back in New York to see the damage for myself. The skyline was forever changed, the memories of my youth in New York just that, memories.
At some point, the world moves on. At the same time, it demands that we stand still and remember, even if just for a moment.
18 years later, 9/11 is a different day for me than it was years ago. Both of my children are now old enough to understand what happened that day. It’s important to me that we talk about it, if only briefly as they go about the rest of the day.
For me, it’s a time to remember everyone who lost their lives, as well as the loved ones they left behind. It’s especially a time to remember those who gave their lives in an effort to save others. There were so many brave first responders running up the stairs of the towers to save people as others ran past them in the other direction heading to safety. They understood the risk at hand. When I look at my children, I can’t imagine that bravery, nor the pain their loved ones must carry when they don’t come home.
There are also the brave passengers and crew on Flight 93 that fought the terrorists. They saved countless lives while knowing they were surely sacrificing their own. 4 years ago we visited the Flight 93 memorial. If you haven’t visited, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a painful but incredibly touching remembrance.
When I visited, I struggled to hold back tears in front of my daughter, wanting to protect her from the sorrow of the day. Today, I don’t know if there will be tears when I talk to my kids and remind them about 9/11. I do know there will be an honest discussion about what happened and why it’s important. We’ll discuss the lessons learned, and why hatred has no place in our world.
Mostly, we’ll remember. And, we’ll say a silent thank you to all who risked their lives in an effort save others on that morning in September 18 years ago.