Today is the 8th (now the 9th)Anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. So hard to believe it's been that long. It feels like it was just a few years ago. I still have those horrifying images ingrained into my mind and can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the first announcements started streaming out.
I was home, had just returned from dropping off my 3 year old son on his first day of preschool. There was a man finishing up the new siding on my house. My two older boys were well into their day at elementary school. To tell the truth, the events before the attacks are fuzzy. I'm sure I put my daughter (2 years old at the time) down for her morning nap and I know the radio was on. I'm also sure that I was worried about my son; if he liked his new class, if he had slipped out the door unnoticed and was trying to hitch hike home (You know normal mom worries).
The radio announcer interrupted and said a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. At first they speculated that it was a small tourist plane, and then it said that it was a United Airlines airplane. I quickly turned on the television and watched the gaping hole pour with smoke. The second plane struck the south tower. I can remember screaming, grabbing the phone and calling my husband. He was just as shocked and confused. I ran outside to tell the worker that the World Trade Center had just been hit by 2 airplanes. He followed me in to watch the news. We sat there, frozen, silently watching the videos of the second plane hitting the south tower over and over while news reporters started buzzing about it being part of a terrorist attack. That morning we were two people, complete strangers, going through their motions in their own lives and in one tragic moment we were united as Americans who were under attack. But even more than that, we were humans watching a horrific act of hate destroying the lives of other humans.
I know I don't have to detail the devastation that followed; the towers falling to the earth, the horrible images of people trying to save themselves by jumping, the chaos and panic that resulted in even more deaths. By the time the Pentagon was hit hit by the third plane, air traffic was stopped in the United States, and news started talking about a possible fourth hijacked airplane still in the air I was in full protective mom mode. I grabbed my daughter, picked my son up from preschool, and then drove straight to our elementary school to get my older two sons. We spent the rest of the day sitting close and talking on the phone with my husband and hoping there wouldn't be anymore attacks. More than anything hoping he would get home as soon as possible so I knew that, at the very least, my little world was safe.
This morning I was uploading some pictures to post with this. Pictures of the World Trade Center before the attack and some depicting memorials after. Then I started thinking about how many people lost their lives and how many more lives were devastated by losing loved ones. So many were in those towers, but there were also loved ones on each of the airplanes and in Washington DC. Countless lives were touched by this act of hate. So I chose the picture of a single red rose on the edge of water to represent the power each one of us has to do something positive, to make this anniversary a day of remembering love not reliving the hate.
I hope that everyone takes a minute to remember all of the people who died on 9/11 and those who lost loved ones and have found the strength to go on. Then take a moment to thank all of the men and women who voluntarily gave up their own time with family and friends to join the military and fight to keep our country safe; to perserve the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. After that tell the people in your life that you love them and your thankful for everyday you get to spend with them.
I'm not usually a preacher, or overly inspirational, but if there is a perfect day to say I love you it's today...then you can go back to your regularly planned chaos.
I do try to keep perspective on what's important on a regular basis, but even the best of intentions can be ground down by life's curve balls and endless cycles of cleaning, work, teenagers, blah, blah, blah...
Today I made sure I hugged my kids extra hard and gave my husband an extra kiss as they went off on their day. As for my oldest, who is just waking up, I will tell him I love him... and then kick his butt for coming home late. Hey, life goes on right ;)
Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts on what today means to you or share where you were on September 11, 2001.
Kristin : )
This post was originally published last year. The only changes made to it are in red. I was inspired to publish it again after reading a Twitter friend's 911 post. Read it, it's great, and much more inspiring than mine :) Please take a moment to share your thoughts or memories of that tragic day 9 years ago today.