For many of us, September 11th is a day to pause and remember. In all likelihood, it’s hard for most of us to imagine that 12 years have passed since that previously unfathomable day in our history.
Yet, for others, every single day is a day to remember September 11th. Every day is “another day after” that life-altering day.
For many of us, the initial shock and pain of that horrific attack somehow numbs a bit over time. Birthdays, holidays, and life events have come and gone. And the evening news has moved on time and again to report the latest dribble of today’s “journalism” – whether the rise and fall of the economy, elections that have come and gone, the fighting of two wars, or the contemplation of yet another attempt at resolving conflict by combat.
For others, the shock and pain remains. Those others are the husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, friends, and co-workers who lost loved ones that horrific September morning. Their lives have been changed forever.
And, some have found renewed hope and happiness as they have started new chapters in their journey to rebuild their lives – yet never doubt that they are eternally conscious that what was before is lost forever.
So, today…as we pause and remember…my hope is that we really remember.
Remember the innocent lives lost in the towers, in the Pentagon, and on that hill in Pennsylvania.
Remember the 343 of the NYFD lost in service to others as they attempted the most complex rescue operation ever conducted on U.S. soil.
Remember the smoke billowing from the iconic headquarters of our military superpowers.
Remember the scorched site of the Flight 93 crash.
Remember “Let’s Roll.”
Remember people walking out of New York City in droves – covered in ash and with determination to get out of the mayhem of Ground Zero alive.
Remember wondering if you knew anyone on those planes. And remember being unable to make your call go through.
Remember the last image of our society before we secured all airports and had a need for something called “Homeland Security” – the image of our President reading to small school children in Florida.
Remember when you couldn’t immediately recall the name “Osama bin Who?” and had little idea what “al-Qaeda” was all about. After all, they were overseas in faraway places, right?
Remember when a generation knew no wartime effort.
Remember the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have stood guard around the world to protect our freedom. And those who have fallen selflessly on our behalf.
On that beautiful, crystal-clear September morning, we as people and as a People were changed forever by what we saw, suffered, and lost as the clock struck 08:46, 09:03, 09:37, and 10:03.
And so, as you pause and remember, make it count. Whether ceremoniously or privately, remember the fallen and those who mourn their loss. For many, the bell tolls with the remembrance brought by the dawn of each new day. And yet, their days have never again been quite as crisp and clear as the earliest hours of That Day.
This Day, we must join them and truly remember. And each day, we must never forget.