I try to appreciate all that life has to offer and to live in the moment every day. I really do. But some days are more difficult than others, and on this one, I can’t help but sadly reflect on the significance of an anniversary that no sane person could ever celebrate.
I’m thankful for every first responder on the planet, like my brother-in-law, Todd Lewis. They put their lives in front of ours without a second thought, because that’s what their hearts tell them to do.
I’m thankful that for my children, today is a history lesson, void of the pain that many generations before them carry.
I’m thankful to have known Todd Weaver in college. He was killed in the Tower Two attack, after witnessing and feeling, more acutely than you or I could ever imagine, the confusion and fear of the first. We worked together, and I think about his sweet, mischievous smile on the same day every year. I hope that he, the 2,976 additional victims, and the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who forfeited their lives to protect ours, are in a peaceful place.
I’m thankful for everyone who serves or who has served in the United States Military.
I’m thankful for the phrase “I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” There was no political divide in the United States at the moment President Bush chose to speak to the world. He rallied a battered and bleeding nation that day, and inspired those of us who could, to stand back up.
I’m thankful that Osama bin Laden is dead. I hate even mentioning his name, except to say that he’s dead.
I’m thankful to be alive.
I’m thankful that my husband made it out of the Sears Tower when Al Queda attacked eleven years ago. As his office was evacuated, he wondered, with real urgency amidst a swirl of rumors, fear, and speculation, if this was the day he was going to die.
I’m thankful that we’re a nation made of grit. Today we grieve together, and will continue to grieve. But our ancestors built this country from nothing, and we will carry forward that great tradition of working, fighting against adversity, growing, and becoming stronger. We will always get back on our feet after a sucker punch to the gut. Always. The incredible actions of Flight 93’s passengers are a testimony to our national conscience and brave resolve.
I’m thankful for the survivors, and for any moments of happiness that they and the victims’ families are able to embrace.
I’m thankful to be a parent.
I’m thankful to live in a country that offers me the freedom to do whatever I want and be whoever I want. Today, tomorrow, and always.
I’m thankful that when I answered my children’s innocent questions about September 11 on the way to school, I was able to get out of the parking lot before I started to cry.