i must confess, i am not known for having a great memory. truthfully i’m often so forgetful my family more likely ‘expects’ that i won’t remember. even things like – what i had for lunch two days ago.
but like, i imagine, almost every other american i can remember the smallest detail of where i was, who i was with, and exactly what i was doing 10 years ago today is engraved in the fibers of my brain.
i have a story. you have a story.
my mother was up visiting us this weekend, so we watched together large portions of the memorial on television, then the 3 of us walked to a quiet cafe around the corner for brunch. even tho we had all heard the stories from one another repeatedly, we still listend as we each talked thru the details of “our” 9-11.
although our stories were all different from one another one thing we had in common was that we were each watching the events from far away. i was in sarasota florida, my mother was on a cruise ship off the coast of spain, and marcus was in saint louis, missiouri none of us were in new york city.
today we all there were. and we got the opportunity to glimpse the experience on a different level… as if thru the eyes of the locals… the hometown of the tragedy.
we walked across the campus at columbia and 3000+ tiny american flags were fluttering on the lawn. a woman walked around the subway holding an 8×10 photo of her husband – lost 10 years ago to the day. enormous banners and posters were displayed all over the city putting photos of the first responders – telling a piece of their story.
it also seemed everyone was just a beat kinder. holding doors open. taking time to smile. offering a hand.
to be this close to the ones impacted the deepest by this event that ‘all’ americans own was somehow deeper… “real-er”.
i hope that we keep the extra kindness. remember to listen to one another more carefully. share our hearts more easily.
but i think the thing that is the heaviest on my heart after today is…. gratitude.
we live in a nation where the horrors of one september day has become a touchstone. we remember. we rally. we weep.
so many places – too many places – around our globe never know when another civilian location will be bombed. don’t have certainty that the government is mobilized for their protection. aren’t free to express their feelings about sensitive issues. don’t have the most basic of human rights.
i hope we never, ever forget the horror of that day. i hope it continues to propel us to do better, to BE better.
and i also hope we never ever forget the enormous gift (and responsibility) we have to live in a country where an event like 9-11 is shattering – in part because it is so far from what we are accustomed to.