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Trying to remember that there is always a reason, always something that makes you smile during the day- recognizing the event, person or situation that made you smile will make your day seem that much better.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

September 11th, 2001.
Like many people, I will never forget that day.  I was at work, getting ready to go into a staff meeting with a group of amazing people...to talk about a million things that were going on in the school system we all worked for.  It was the first staff meeting of the school year and since many of our employees didn't work during the summer, many came in early to catch up on what had gone on.  It was the beginning of a great year, some great new projects we were launching..everyone was excited.
All of a sudden her cellphone rang.
She apologized and walked out of the room to take the call.
Someone else's phone rang, she left as well.
The first woman came back in, teary eyed and not saying anything.
I shot her a look when she sat down next to me and murmured, you ok
She shook her head no. Later we found out it was because her family was all in New York City..blocks from the World Trade Center...thankfully all spared from the horrors of that day.
The other woman came back in, pale faced and shocked.
She said- A plane just hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York.
Are you sure?
My boss pulled the room back together and we went on with our meeting, cell phones ringing periodically throughout the meeting, until finally someone walked in the room telling us a plane had hit the Pentagon.
I got up and went on my computer and nothing was connecting to the internet and this was before cell phones with internet service.
We had our own demons that day, a man who was in the courtyard of a school with a gun.  Luckily he was subdued quickly and all the schools were locked down.
I started to get panicky.
My dad was on a plane
My mom was working at the Pentagon shopping mall
Couldn't remember where my brother and sister were at that point.
Not to mention the friends from school who were flying to London from Boston to start a semester abroad.
There wasn't a television in the building anywhere.
I was obsessively calling my parents, my family, checking the internet
Finally, my mom was okay- not at work that day
My dad's trip had gotten cancelled and he was in the office
My brother and sister both were home
Emails were flying around from friends, family
are you okay?
Have you heard from so and so?
What about this person, he worked in the WTC?
What about that person who was flying?
They came through Maine....what do you mean, they came through our airport.
The person who worked at the convenience store where I got my coffee every single morning had served them that morning.
Yes, we lost at least one friend we knew of.
Yes, we knew people on those planes.
Yes, it was scary as hell not knowing where everyone was and what they were doing.
Pre-facebook, pre-twitter, we had to rely on unreliable internet and phone service.
Yes, my perspective on the world changed that day.
My safety net didn't feel quite as safe.
Riveted to the TV for days, my husband and I talked about whether or not we would want to even consider bringing a child into this new world we were suddenly faced with.
I finally turned it off.
The computer, the TV, everything.
I couldn't watch one more replay, one more interview, one more newscast of the flyers plastered everywhere in NYC looking for people.
I got on a plane the weekend after it happened, navigated through the security mess that was happening just to see, to hug and to cry with my family.
I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on that day.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that it was ten years ago when you watch the replays on tv.  Same sick to my stomach feeling of that day happens every time I watch the endless news reels.
You know what I have heard leading up to this anniversary?
I have heard and read remarkable stories.
Stories of hope
Stories of strangers helping strangers
Stories of a renewed sense of pride in country
Stories of respect for one another
Stories of rebirth from the ashes and a renewed sense of what's really important in life since that day.
It is a tragedy what happened that day.
A day that will reshape American history
But it is a day that if one looks hard enough, talks enough, reads enough, there are gems of how this society can pull together, help each other, support each other and learn to rely just a little bit on each other again.
Silver lining, the bright side of a horrible tragedy, maybe I have my rose colored glasses on.
Today, I chose to not only honor those who fell that day, who have fought gallantly in the preceding years, but to also honor those who shared their stories, reached out a hand, helped a stranger, provided support and helped this country band together in the aftermath and show true American spirit.
We may not always like each other and we may not always get along and we may not always extend that hand to a stranger, but when it really mattered and push came to shove, people did...in whatever way they could.
Thinking of you all today.  Sending hugs, love and peace out to everyone today...


  1. Well said. Thinking of everything today as well. RIP to all of our heroes. God Bless the families for the sacrifices they made.

  2. Very well said Col. I can't believe how frightening it must have been, trying to contact family and friends to make sure that they were alright. Hugs and peace to you too my friend.

  3. Very well done girl. I know my emotions would have been much worse if I had someone personal at either of the locations. Hope you've had a wonderful weekend.

  4. Loved this post I was lucky not to know anyone personaly that was affected by the horror of that day..........

  5. Nicely said Col [as usual :)] It doesn't define us, but it certainly helps to not forget.