I've been looking forward to this post for awhile now; wanting to hit this ceremonious number... Today is September 11th. I don't know how it will ever be possible to say that date again without pausing and remember where I was when I heard the news... Lowell and I were in bed and he flipped on the news, saw the impact and woke me up. We watched, spellbound, as the news anchors tried to describe what was going on. I went to work that day, as usual but couldn't shake the fact that it seemed so wrong to be going about life as if things hadn't somehow shifted - as if this terrible thing wasn't even happening. I watched people come in and get their hair done, their nails painted... And I couldn't understand why they weren't at home glued to their TVs watching the horror. I didn't have a macabe interest in the devestation, only the undeniable feeling that life was somehow changed and that something special had been lost.
Today I watched the same phenomena. There were cars on the freeway with American flags on them; the flag at Walmart flew at half-staff; there were multiple memorial events around the valley; and people standing around in Walgreens were talking about where they were 9 years ago today. Not everyone seemed to remember. The flag at a nearby church was flying at full height and there were many people who appeared to be going on about their day as if there were nothing special about 9/11. I watched the History Channel - the only place I could find information about the terrorist attacks, other than the internet. I learned a lot about that day that I didn't know and came to respect the heroes even more. I also felt a rekindled anger at those who had taken the lives of more than 2700 Americans. And a continued awe for those who serve our country today in response to the threat that is on the horizon.
At the end of the day, I decided it was time to appreciate that I am an American - free and safe tonight because of those who fight so valiantly. Feeling sad and mouring the losses of that day are totally understandable, but I think the appropriate way to respect the memories of those we lost is to not take for granted what they died to protect. Tonight I took the kids outside, they rode their bikes in the street and then we walked down to the park where they played. They ran, laughed, chased and just had a wonderful time being children until the sun set.
A very fitting end to my 9/11. I'll never forget or stop being thankful. Rest in peace.