Not many days are as emotional for me as September 11th is for me each year.
I was in elementary school still, but out for the day going to court for a custody battle between my Mom and Dad. Each year since, I have grown more empathic and each September 11th, my heart aches all day long. I cry pretty much all day long whenever I am alone, with goosebumps and my hair standing straight up when I think about all that day encompassed, and do my best to pull myself together whenever I have to see or talk to someone.
All day long, each year, I can’t get the images out of my head of the innocent people jumping from their office windows, the people on the ground covered in ash, the first responders who worked tirelessly for days searching for people and bodies, hoping to save as many as they could.
My Dad is a retired police officer of 35 years, and I think about all of the men and women who lost their lives running towards the World Trade Center that day. I think about my “Uncles” who became family because they worked with my Dad. I know each of them would have done the same thing as their brothers and sisters in New York, who selflessly laid down their life to save others. I think about the men and women we lost, and their families at home left to grieve the rest of their lives, knowing that their hero died, doing what Warriors do…putting themselves last in order to help others.
I think of the firefighters who put their gear on, for one last time, and running into the flames, carrying out people they'd never met to save them, just to run right back in, and eventually perish that day.
I think about the countless flights I take every year. I put myself in the shoes of the people on those hijacked planes, and think about having to leave LA a message telling him the situation, knowing I was moments away from death, and having to tell him how much I love him. Those voicemails play over and over and over in my head all day long.
My heart aches, thinking of that day, when everything stopped. The world watched in disbelief that something like this could really be happening. That evil like that truly lived in the world. But, each September 11th, I don't think about the hijackers, and the evil. I think of all the incredible heroes, and the thousands of amazing people we lost that day, and their families still here that have to go on without them.
And then I think about September 12th, 2001. I think about the stores being sold out of American flags. I think about the random people who would just hug a stranger crying because we all felt the same immense loss, even if we didn’t personally know someone who died that day. Everyone showed so much love to everyone, no matter their race, no matter their political party, no matter their religion. Nothing mattered but the fact that we were all human, who had just experienced the most incredible loss the world had ever seen.
I would never wish for September 11th, 2001 to ever happen again. But, I wish for September 12th, 2001, every day. The compassion, the empathy, the love we all showed one another, was something so remarkable, and THAT is what make The United States of America, THE greatest nation on Earth.
The greatest thing we can do to honor the 2,977 people that lost their lives today, is to treat every day as if it is September 12th, 2001, and never ever forget.