On September 11, 2001 I was a junior in high school. I left my first period class and heard the news. In retrospect, I'm not sure if only the first tower had been struck or if the second had been struck then too. Being in school across the country, I don't think we even watched much of the TV coverage. I do remember learning the full scope later in the day and calling to check on an extended family member who was living in Manhattan (she and her hubby were fine, scared but fine).
What often strikes me as strange about that day, for me specifically, was I had a very personally defining, completely unrelated personal moment that night. There's no need to go into great detail but a volunteer role I was very passionate about disintegrated in one brief denunciation by a misguided (but I suppose well-intentioned) adult. I was so distraught, even though I was old enough to drive and had my car, my parents came to pick me up.
Every time I remember September 11, I'm shocked to recall that both pivotal moments actually happened in the same 24 hours, and really within the same 12 hours. How could two incidents, one so life-changing for a country and one so personally life-changing have both occurred? How could it possibly be the same single day? In my mind, they are entirely separate events and memories. I often forget they are the same moment in time.
Besides that personal rollercoaster, one element of September 11 that stands out to me was my proximity to NASA. You might remember that President Bush issued a no-fly order. Imagine our surprise when we saw planes in the sky overhead. It took a while to realize they were government planes circling and protecting the Johnson Space Center.
Now, 10 years older, married to a firefighter, with a brother who is enlisted and with probably just a more mature appreciation of family, seeing those attacks replayed and listening to the spouses and children left behind cuts me like a knife. It also inspires a nearly desperate desire to fix it, to bring goodness to something so ugly.
|From the BCRC Champagne Brunch, where|
this morning 600+ supported our neighbors
fighting breast cancer.
As is probably no surprise to you faithful blog reader, I strongly believe that giving back to our communities is one of the best ways to honor the lives of those we lost. We can work together to turn a sad, hurtful occasion into a beautiful commitment to community. We can honor the first responders by becoming "first responders" ourselves - the first to respond to our communities needs with whatever talents, abilities and resources we've been blessed with. And we can do so today with simple actions, like delivering a meal, being a shoulder to cry on or making a donation to a worthy cause.
On this notable day, how have you served and remembered?