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9.11.2011

Taking a Minute to Remember

Like much of the nation I spent this morning reflecting, remembering, and mourning the events that took place 10 years ago today.  And there were a fair number of tears accompanying that reflection.  My kids don't see me cry very often- I don't purposely try to hide tears from them, I'm just not much of a crier.  Izzy's probably seen me cry twice before- once at the end of Toy Story 3, and once when I got my nose pierced (I didn't cry out, but there were definitely tears...).  So this morning they were a little confused- they kept asking me why I was crying.  So I tried, through my tears, to explain the events of that day to them.  I tried to explain the fact that a few very bad people killed a lot of very innocent people- people who were moms, dads, and even kids (8 children, all passengers on the planes that crashed into the buildings, died that day).  I tried to explain that, no, I didn't know any of those people, but that the thought of all of those babies who never got to meet their fathers, and all those children who grew up with one fewer parent made me feel sad.  That I couldn't help but put myself into the shoes of the plane passengers, and that I instantly thought that if I were in their shoes now (or any time since August 2006) I would likely have one or both of my kids with me- how awful must it have been to know that you and (much much worse) your child were going to die because a few extremists were trying to make a point?  The mere thought of what those people, especially the parents, must have felt before their untimely deaths, is enough to make me sob uncontrollably.  And between my sobs I was trying to explain this two my two very young children.

It is a sad day, but it is also a day to reflect on what has changed in the last 10 years.  No, not all the change has been good, but today is not for dwelling on the bad, it is for remembering and for celebrating the little good that resulted from that day.  Bin Laden is dead.  Democracy is trying to take root in parts of the middle East.  And, most importantly, Americans have taken the tragedy of that day and used it to improve and inspire their lives.  It was a day that helped us realize that there is more to being American than making money and saying what we want.  We are Americans because while we have the freedom to say and do and be what we want, we come together when some of our own are in need.  That day there are so many stories of people doing what they could to help- civilians providing food and water to survivors and emergency responders, private citizens using their boats to help evacuate residents of lower Manhattan without any organization or orders to do so.  Because we have the freedom to choose whether or not to help- and more often that not, we help.

So while I wish with every ounce of my being that the events of that day had not happened, they happened, and all we can do is take what we can from them and make the world better.  The terrorists may have struck a huge blow against us that day, but in the ten years since we are the ones who have won, because we have survived and thrived in spite.

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