11 September 2011

Remembering... 10 Years Later

Everyone has a story, everyone knows where they were and what they were doing when the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11th, 2001.  My story, like those of many Americans, isn't incredibly spectacular.  I wasn't in New York City.  I wasn't even on the East Coast.  And I hesitate to add to the flurry of "what I remember" tales, because mine wasn't one of the "important" stories of that day.  But this morning, as we were driving to church, we saw several people standing alongside the road, holding large American flags.  My youngest daughter asked what they were doing, and we explained that they were there because today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

"What's 9/11?" she asked.  And I struggled to sum up the importance of this day we remember so vividly in a few short sentences before her mind wandered to the next topic of interest.  I'm not sure how well I explained it this morning, so I'm going to try it again now:

9/11 was the day, 10 years ago, when our country changed in the wake of a terrible terrorist attack.  It's the day when some terrorists tried to destroy our country, our people and our entire way of life by filling our hearts with fear and paralyzing "what ifs?"

9/11 was also the day, 10 years ago, when we came together as a nation and fought back against the terrorists.  It's the day when people looked terror right in the eye and refused to let it take hold.  It's the day when we opened our doors and windows and got to know our neighbors.  It's the day when we took a look around and counted our blessings, when we held our loved ones close and knelt together in prayer for people we didn't know and would never meet - and we meant every word.  It's the day when we stopped thinking, for a moment, about all the things we didn't have and took the time to appreciate all the things we did.  It's a day when ordinary men and women stepped up to become great heroes. 

9/11 was the day when a group of misguided people thought they could destroy America with a well-coordinated attack.  But they were wrong.  As long as we remember who we are and why we are here...  As long as we never forget that America isn't about buildings and places and politics... As long as we remember that we, the people, make this country strong... As long as we remember to reach out to our friends and neighbors and lean on each other for strength... We can pull through anything.  That's what I learned 10 years ago.


  1. You are such a beautiful woman. I love how well you could put all that together, simply put but heartfelt and thorough. My husband and I were both active duty at the time and my baby was 3 months old. Explaining the whole situation (from the towers to my personal feelings and how it effected my military career) to him has been trying but I think your explanation will be the best yet for him and his sister.

    ~ ♥ Breanne

  2. And you know those folks you saw waving their flags today, they are there in the morning on the 11th of every month waving their flags. There has been someone at that location every 11th since the 9/11/01 attacks. They have not forgotten, and neither should we!

  3. Breanne,

    I'm so glad my post will be helpful for you in expressing your thoughts to your children. Thanks so much for your kind words :)


    I love seeing the flags on the 11th of every month. It makes me smile every time I see them. I'm so grateful to know that there are those who still remember not to forget. (I was shocked on Sunday to find that I'm the only one in my family who had noticed them before! - Then again, I drive past that particular bridge much more often than anyone else in my family...)

  4. Just reading this post now. Wow, I love it. Your story might not be a sensational one, but it's an important one. This tradedy reached far and wide. It troubled every single American no matter where we were that day.
    Hugs to you!
    ~Kerry O'Malley Cerra

  5. Kerry,

    Thanks. That was my point exactly - major events like this change us all, even if we weren't "directly" impacted by them. And everyone has a story, even if it's not one they share often.