Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day to Remember

I've thought about this day a lot over the years. In fact, before it was 9/11 it was September 11th. My husband's birthday. Still is in fact, only it's a bittersweet celebration now. It's hard to be so happy on a day where I know others are suffering. Only, it's also a reminder that life does go on and that those who've lost loved ones can have a renewed sense of hope. My own tragic loss last year tells me it is possible.

Love you Mom. Miss you.

10 years ago today I was still in the mode of watching the morning news and was woken up to the startling reality that became a part of the world's history. Only the first plane had struck when I turned on the news. I called my husband first, who quickly found a tv at work. I called my parents next, because that's what I do. Family is so critical in my life.

Then the second plane. Then the collapse. Then I knew my husband's birthday would be forever changed. While I had looked forward to celebrating his entrance into the world, others were suddenly mourning their loved ones leaving it. I was stunned. I cried. I called my sister in Washington DC to see if she was all right. I don't even remember if I got through or not. In the end she was all right. That much I remember.

I was glued to the tv the entire day and was grateful I chose to leave my children safely tucked away at school while I thought of what I would say to them later. Because I would have to say something, in attempts to explain what had happened. Why someone would do this?

I got a call mid-day from one of my brothers, telling me that he and his fellow Air Force buddy had been stranded at the airport. Could we come get them and let them stay with us until the airport reopened?

Heck, yeah! My nationalism surged ten fold in that moment as I proudly took in two honorable service men and prayed for the others who were defending our great nation. And would continue to do so in the coming years. My husband came home via the airport while I went shopping for food and a birthday cake, thinking how ridiculous it was to do something so normal. This day was anything BUT.

We transformed the birthday cake into an American flag. We would celebrate the unity of our great nation and the strength of people and families who cared.

We had hope. And prayer. And a loving family. We would gather around each other that night and for the days to come, determined to stay happy in these troubling times. Because not all the world was cruel. We knew that. The outpouring of love from those who worked to rescue so many could only be matched by the outpouring of love that followed for those who didn't survive. Where there is humanity there is hope. Where there is hope, there is love.

Never stop loving. Never forget. Here's to hope.

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