In the last day or so, I have noticed many people posting/tweeting about 9/11/01. As a nation, we don’t want to forget, and we shouldn’t. People are sharing where they were, who they were with, and encouraging all to always remember the thousands of people who lost their lives that day. I remember my mother telling me that there would be several days in my lifetime that I will forever remember, in addition to the “big” days like graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my children. She said these days would make an indelible mark on my memory– I would always remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and how I was feeling. Some of the significant days in her life were the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. 9/11 is one of those days for me.
A really significant event in my life happened at the exact time a plane hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I was with my husband at my OB/GYN. I was several months pregnant with our second child and the purpose of that day’s visit was to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The doppler was on my belly when the door of my examination room opened and a nurse leaned inside. The fast-paced thump thump thump thump of my sweet daughter’s heart echoed through the room at the exact time the nurse said, with a look of horror in her eyes, “an airplane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” Fear and disbelief along with excitement and joy raced through me at the same moment. The memory and the juxtaposition of these two events will be with me forever.
I believe that most everyone knows someone or knows of someone who has some connection with 9/11. In today’s world, six degrees of separation is several too many. I think it is more like two or three degrees. Whether they once worked at the twin towers, Pentagon, or the airlines, knew someone who did, or were connected with one of the people who worked to rescue victims or clean up the rubble over the many months following, I believe most everyone has a some type of connection to that day. My husband worked at a law firm in one of the towers years ago, my sister-in-law lost a relative and friend, one of the flight attendants was from my area, and a friend lost her next-door neighbor. My list could go on and on. I’m sure yours could as well.
9/11 is one of those days my mother told me about. I will never forget that moment. That day. The loss of life and the beginning of life. Each year I pause, as many of us do, and remember. I give thanks for the gift of life and mourn the sacrifice of life. I appreciate the fragility of life, and am pulled back to the place of remembering the importance of each and every day. Both the big things and the little things that make up the fullness of life. Remembering our most precious commodity, time. Time to do the things that matter. Time with those we love. Time. Embrace it, and never forget.