I remember it like it just happened, although in reality I know it was twenty years ago this Saturday. I cannot help but remember, as for our generation it is the quintessential event in our lifetimes. Everyone remembers where we were, what we were doing and what unfolded around us from that tragic moment.
Hours after the tragic attacks on American soil by Al Qaeda, killing innocent people, bystanders, first responders, men, women and children, the markets were closed, people rushed to be with their loved ones sheltering in place as the tragedy sunk in. Smoke could be seen from the fall of the World Trade Center Towers for miles and miles.
It is a stark memory for me because I could have been one of those casualties. You see, I was scheduled to be at a meeting in the World Trade Center at 9 am that day. At the last minute the meeting was rescheduled, as both the person I was meeting with, and I had made the meeting weeks prior not realizing that our young kids were starting a preschool program that day and we had promised to go see our children start. I think about that a lot, that if I did not have that commitment, if my daughter was not here, would I have been there that day. In the middle of the worst terror event in our history. For me, it did not have a personal tragic ending, September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, for many of my former colleagues and several friends, their families were not so lucky.
I still remember taking my daughter out to the swings in the backyard that afternoon as everyone tried to make sense of the world that would forever be changed. As we were outside, my daughter pointed up toward the sky as military fighter jets flew overhead at high speed. They did multiple passes over our area, as all air traffic besides military had been shut down. The memory still to this day sends chills down my spine, as during my lifetime I had never seen military aircraft over a residential area. Life was definitively different. As they passed over again, I thought about the history my daughter would now have to tell her children about one day. That during her lifetime military fighter jets flew over our home on September 11, 2001, while her dad pushed her in her swing.
One thing that rings true for us who lived through that time, is that the country, you know, the United States of America came together. We stood side by side, doing anything we could for those who lost loved ones, or who had been displaced by the events. There were no Democrats or Republicans, there were only Americans.
As we enter continued uncertain times in the world, one cannot help thinking most especially on the twentieth anniversary of this tragic occurrence that we as Americans must put our philosophical and ideological differences aside for the greater good. What the forces outside our country want is for us to fight each other and spend our time arguing while they plot other things against us and our allies.
We must teach the younger generations about September 11th and not let those that lost their lives become faint memories and forgotten. The only way we can learn from mistakes that were made and cherish those who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as the brave men and women who serve our military so that the rest of us can be free, is for us to pause. Take a moment on this important day this Saturday, September 11, 2021, to remember those who are no longer here and to commit ourselves to never forgetting.
All of our lives were changed that fateful day, whether directly or indirectly. If we do not pay close enough attention to our own backyard it might not be ours one day…