Flashback Friday ~ September 11th

It's hard to be light-hearted on the anniversary of such a sobering event in the history of our great nation.  (So I won't be.)  I can't believe that it was eight years ago.  I can't believe how much our nation and, on a more personal note, my life has changed since then.

I would venture to guess that all of us who lived through that day remember with excruciating detail where we were when we heard about or watched the planes hit the towers, and the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania.  As for me, I was awakened by my earlier-rising roommate, my freshman year in college, as she returned from breakfast.  She told me, "A plane has hit the World Trade Center."  We had no idea what the implications of that were...then we turned on the tv and watched the second one hit.  We figured it out.  What probably stands out the most in my mind on that day is going to class at 10:50, Introduction to Problem Solving.  My professor was a retired Army Colonel, and a scary, scary man.  He took a moment to discuss the morning's events and added that while what had happened was a true tragedy, America has wronged a lot of other nations...and that their anger towards us might well be justified.  I couldn't believe those words came out of his mouth.  It just didn't seem like the right time or place, no matter how much truth he was speaking.

I don't want to rehash the political implications of 9/11.  I don't want to demean the lives lost in that way.  Each and every man, woman, and child that died that day as a victim is a hero...whether they were an innocent bystander, whether they risked and sacrificed their lives in the aftermath, or whether they stormed the cockpit during their flight because they simply couldn't allow for any more Americans to die at the hands of terrorists.  I like to think that their lives were not taken in vain.  I believe that we've learned that there are evils in this world, at home and abroad.  Our country changed that day.  It was amazing to see, for the first time in my lifetime (and I fear it will be the only time) a truly *United* States of America.  Politics aside, we banded together in mourning, in patriotism.  How quickly we have forgotten.

I feel like this is going to be one big cliche, but I want us all to remember that our lives are precious.  They are a gift.  We shouldn't take one moment of it for granted, because in an unpredictable instant, it can be taken away.  Treasure the small things.  Thank God for your blessings...big and small.  Tell someone you love them.  Tell them you're sorry.  Tell them how they changed your life for the better.  Make it count.

Today's picture is not a flashback...it's a picture of my present, for which I am so grateful; the culmination of my life up to this point, a collection of a million memories, experiences, and blessings, one of which is having the privilege of living in the United States of America.  I hope and pray that my children are lucky enough to know what it is to have pride in your country, to be able to say that they live in the greatest nation on earth.

September 11, 2009


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