Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My 9/11 Memories

11 years ago today I still remember as if it were yesterday. Although literally across the country from Ground Zero the impact weighed on my heart and soul then, as it does today. I was still in high school. My usual morning routine consisted of waking up and taking a shower with the radio on while listening to my favorite Southern Californian morning hosts.

But that morning in my groggy state I noticed a distinct difference and change in the tone of the show. I remember the voices over the radio having a sobering and serious tone to them. Words I remember hearing included: tragedy, not some kind of accident, unbelievable, we don’t know how many lives were lost.

In an almost apathetic way, with the shootings of Columbine having been a few years earlier and seemingly still fresh in my mind, I wrote off the event being talked about to another random school shooting. But by the end of my shower I slowly began becoming more alert and awake as the words over the radio slowly became coherent in my mind, I distinctly remember hearing in no particular order when I began to grasp what was going on: planes, buildings, New York, not an accident.

By the time I got myself dried off, out of the shower and into my school attire I flipped on the television right around 6:50 am PST, 9:50 am EST, only minutes later to see the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapse. My heart absolutely broke. 11 years later it still does.   

On 9/11 in 2007 I was working in New York and was humbly honored to be near Ground Zero as the names of the departed were read. Tears streamed down my face that morning and I am choked up thinking about that and all of this today. For me 9/11 will always be a somber day. It’s a reminder of the fragility of our being and to cherish those close to me in this life more than anything in the world.

But it’s also about healing. For literally thousands of families the last 11 years have been filled with memories of lost loved ones and battling illnesses developed from that day. Many have found peace. Many have not. For anyone and everyone impacted by 9/11 I want to share that I genuinely keep you in my prayers and think about you often. We may never be able to explain why evil acts happen. But I can assure you that the hands and feet of good also exist in this world. Whether through acts of courage by entering where others are evacuating, generosity by those whom offer free and anonymous counseling, or an outpouring of donations made by blood drives, good exists in this world and is at its best in the midst of turmoil.

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