Like so many other people, I can recall easily where I was 10 years ago today. I recall sitting in my middle school health class with my peers and learning the news. I recall feeling confused. I recall not fully understanding the events of 9/11 when I was told that two planes hit the World Trade Center Towers. My teachers didn’t turn on the television in class. We were informed of the news, and then we went about our typical day at school. I recall some parents coming into the school to pick up their sons and daughters early.
I recall stepping off of the bus at the end of the school day and arriving home to view the terrible images displayed on the television in my living room.
I didn’t fully understand the capacity of the day ‘s events until arriving home, speaking to my parents, and watching/reading the news. I was 13 years old. I didn’t understand the word- “terrorism.” I had never witnessed a tragedy similar to that of September 11th. As I continued to watch the news stories unfold, I felt sad. I felt sadness and compassion for the families who lost loved ones on any of the planes that day. I felt sadness for those who lost loved ones who acted as heros (as all Americans who died on 9/11 acted). I felt sadness for those family members and friends who were still searching for their lost loved ones (and didn’t give up or lose hope) no matter what they were told. I felt sadness for our country. I felt sadness for all of us as Americans for having to go through such a devastating event.
Still today, looking back on 9/11, I feel these same emotions.
But I also feeling something else.
I feel honored. I feel honored to be apart of a great country like ours. I feel honored to live in a country that can persevere after a great tragedy. I feel honored to be apart of a country where people come together during times of tragedy and stick together thereafter. I feel honored to be apart of a country where true heroes exist. I feel honored to be apart of a country where ordinary individuals are courageous enough to sacrifice their lives for their country.
I also feel thankful- really and truely thankful for my life and everything that includes. I feel thankful that I can walk out my front door and go about my day feeling safe. I feel thankful that I have a family, friends, a career, education, and a future. I feel thankful that I have opportunities. There are so many individuals who died on September 11th (and individuals who have died serving our country during the War on Terror) who will never have the opportunities that I have.
I feel proud of the country I live in. I feel proud of all those individuals who lost their lives on September 11th. I feel proud of those in our armed services who sacrific their lives each and every day for the purpose of freedom in the United States. I also feel proud of the families and friends who have lost loved ones due to September 11th. I feel proud of them for going about their lives despite the unbearable grief. I feel proud of all of us as Americans for choosing to remember 9/11 and the lives lost due to such a tragic event.
So what do we do with all of these feelings on this day- 10 years after such a shocking tragedy? I think that this question may trouble us all at some point througout our day. Do we watch footage of the events of 9/11 all day long? Do we go to church a pray for lives lost? Do we attend a memorial service somewhere to remember those individuals that lost their lives? What do we do?
The answer is much simpler than we realize. What do we do today? We remember.
We remember the events of September 11th. We remember the lives lost and families who are still grieving. We remember how we felt that day. We remember how our country responded to the events of 9/11. We remember the heroes of that day, and we remember the heroes who fight for our country every day. We remember.
We should also remember to feel grateful. We should feel a sense of gratitude for the freedom we have in the United States. We should feel gratitude to have our loved ones near us and to live fulfilling lives. We should feel gratitude for all of the big things and all of the little things that we experience each and every day. Life is precious. That’s an important lesson I learned from September 11th. Never take anything for granted.
*Tell me: What lessons have you learned from September 11th, 2001? How will you remember today’s events?