I always remember my grandmother and mom talk about when Kennedy was shot and how they could remember almost everything about that moment in time. It seemed so unreal that they could recall such vivid details about that day, even minor ones. It was forever a part of their DNA makeup from that point on.
On September 11, 2001, I had my own moment that is forever a part of my DNA makeup. I will never forget the fear and panic that came over me watching those moments unfold on television. I had two small children at home and one at school. In a panic, I called her school and told them that I wanted to come and get her. I wanted all my kids safe at home with me. The school secretary was wonderful and she completely understood. They made sure she was ready to go when I got there. I brought her home and kept the kids in the house all day. Between moments of tears and disbelief I tried to remember that I was lucky that I was able to go quickly gather my family and bring them all home. So many families were not that lucky on that day.
To this very day the video footage of that day makes me think about those moments. I wanted to pick up all those people fleeing from those buildings and bring them home with me, just as I had brought my daughter home. Seeing the people covered in ash from the buildings, watching the replay over and over of the planes hitting the Towers……in an instant, those moments became a part of me and are something I carry with me every single day.
In St. Louis last year they created a memorial for all the people who lost their lives that day. They put a flag out with their name on it, there were photos on some and some families even attached little things to the flags as well. They wanted to make sure that their loved ones knew they weren’t forgotten.
As I walked through the flags at sunrise, I started reading their names out loud as I would pass them. I wanted to put their names into the universe and let them and their families know that they were being thought about. I hoped that it would bring some comfort to know that a stranger was remembering them and honoring them.
My daughter was walking through the sea of flags and she stopped. She sat down in the grass and she just looked around. I know that, in that moment, it had dawned on her how many lives were forever changed that day and that these flags represented just the beginning of the lives that were forever altered. You could actually see that moment becoming a part of my daughter’s DNA.
Lives have been forever changed because of September 11th and it continues to do so. We will never forget the sacrifices that were made by the people and the families on that day, their hurt and the anger, and their sadness. We grieve with them and as a nation of people come together to make sure that the families know that their loved ones are remembered, not just today, but every day. Our hearts and prayers go out to each of them. We will never forget.