Archive for September 9th, 2011

Almost ten years …

Anniversaries are times for remembering, reviewing and reminiscing. And the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States is no different.

It is a time to reminisce about history before, during and after 9 11.

As today is 9-9-11 (two days before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks), I wonder how 9-9-01 (two days before the attacks occurred) might have been different, how we might be different, had the terrorism of that fateful day not occurred. I wonder if people awakening on 9-9-01 had concerns about flying, if they felt there way a terrorist threat, if they knew the name Bin Laden. Was 9-9-01 an age of innocence still? But I also wonder, did people say goodbye to friends and family more casually? Did people forget to tell their loved ones, ‘I love you’ before going off to work or school?

I also wonder about how we were different to our loved ones in the days following the attacks. I know that, for me, in the days following the attacks, I took more time to read and talk and snuggle with my kids at bedtime. I know that snoring from the other side of the bed, at night, was less annoying, and more a comforting sign that he was still there.

But, I also know that I have forgotten how the events of that day had scared me into loving unconditionally, for a time. But, I have become complacent, I take tomorrow (not just today) for granted, I have the freedom to take those I love for granted … because I forget that they might not be here (I might not be here) tomorrow. May I not have to be reminded again, at such great cost.

It is a time to remember the events of that day, and the human losses.

For any of us, where we were and what we were doing, when we heard of the first attacks on 9-11-01 will forever be imprinted on our brains. That is because what we heard, what we saw caused a trauma … a permanent scar, on our brains. I remember arriving at the gym, and seeing the first tower on fire, and thinking, “how awful.” Although true (it was awful), now that seems like such a trite, distant and removed response.

Our minds, our eyes were glued to the information we were hearing and seeing. We were shocked, we were unbelieving that what was going on, was really real. We remember seeing the footage … over, and over and over … of the first, and then the second plane hit the buildings. We remember hearing that the Pentagon had also been hit. We remember hearing of a plane crash in a field in Pennsylvania. We remember seeing people … falling, no … jumping … from the burning buildings … Remember?

It is a time to review where we have gone since the events of that day.

So, where have we gone from the horrors of that day? And I do not mean from the perspective of airport security, of retaliation, of government policy … I mean where have you and I, as observers of that day, gone? How have we changed how we live our lives? What have we learned? In what ways do we do life differently?

I cannot sit on a plane and not think of the unthinkable visions of 9-11-01, and realize that yes, it could happen again. I cannot hear people debate blame of politicians, and fault of agencies without thinking, ‘where there is a will, there will be a way’ (do we really think that we can prevent all attempts of terrorism with a policy?). I cannot hear of retaliation and not think ‘but there is evil in all men, when we eliminate one, many more rise.’ But, these are negative responses. These are not the responses that, I believe, any of the victims would desire us to have.

I cannot speak for the dead. And I knew none of the victims of 9 11. But, IF I had been one of the victims, I believe I know what I would want others to hear from me …

Live your life to the fullest.

That is it. Just live your life to the fullest. Love those nearest to you, and love them daily. Ponder what (who) is most important to you, and spend the bulk of your time, your energies on that thing … or, more realistically, with that person. Don’t sit on the sidelines watching others live their life, go our there and live, and live, and live …

… because, when life was coming to an end, that fateful day, I bet they each wanted just one more chance at life … and we still have it in our grasp … live it, because they didn’t have the choice.

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