I know I'm a day late, but the thought of composing this yesterday was really too much for me to handle. However, I couldn't let the tenth anniversary of 9/11 pass without recognition of the Americans who lost their lives that day.
In years past, I've generally avoided the news on the anniversary; but yesterday I couldn't look away. I watched the re-airing of the morning's news shows, the opening of the memorial, the interviews with survivors. I cried a lot yesterday.
I was born on Long Island. I only lived in New York until I was almost seven, so I don't really have a lot of memories from that time. But I do have a few. Every Thursday night during the summer months, my parents and about 50 of their closest friends would meet on the beach for a cookout. There were always a lot of people, lots of kids, and (in true New York fashion) lots and lots of food. I remember that every once in a while, on really, really clear nights, you could just see the shadow of the Twin Towers from the beach. You could just barely make them out but they were there. After my family moved to Virginia we would frequently make the drive back to New York, and the first things to welcome you were the Twin Towers.
I loved them. To me they were a beacon of the hope and opportunity that is New York.
I was in ninth grade on September 11, 2001. I remember that I was in my freshman history class when one of the other teachers burst into the room and had my teacher turn on the TV. We watched in horror as the first tower fell. Soon after, the principal came over the loud speaker and announced that all teachers should turn off the TVs as the events did not relate to our educational curriculum. The rest of the day crawled. I remember I desperately wanted to get home.
The days immediately following 9/11 was the first time that I was really scared in my life. I remember not feeling safe and unprotected. I remember going to church and crying my eyes out. I remember feeling like nothing was ever going to be the same again.
And maybe I was right. But ten years later, I like to think we've learned something. I think we have learned the price of freedom and the importance of protecting our ideals and our standards of liberty.
Yesterday was a momentous day. It was a day that deserved a pause to reflect and remember, but I hope we all take a moment each day to remember all those individuals whose lives were taken from them that day.
May God bless the USA and may we never forget.