READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

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.

***

For two beautiful, compelling perspectives on September 11, 2001, check out Remembering at The Kitchen Slattern Speaks and Where I Was Today, Eleven Years Ago at Bharatwrites.

69 thoughts on “Today I’m Thankful.

  1. ‘We will always get back on our feet after a sucker punch to the gut. Always’ — I love this. It made me think of a line in a Peter Steele song about the United States where he says ‘You don’t fuck with the eagle!’

    1. You make me laugh, Sandee, which isn’t easy to do on a day like today. Have I told you how much I love the way your mind works?

  2. stellacastro says:

    I was working in downtown New York when 9/11 happened eleven years ago… My building (World Financial Center) was connected to the World Trade Center by a pedestrian bridge. Today, so many years later, the visions of that day (and subsequent days, weeks, months) continue to haunt me. And yes, like you, remembering 9/11 still chokes me up. I hope we continue to remember – not just the pain we endured, but the lessons we learned. Thanks for the post, Stacie.

    1. Thank YOU for such a thoughtful comment, Stella. I’m glad you’re here.

  3. Barry says:

    Beautiful work, Stacie. Absolutely beautiful.

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Barry. I hope you’re well.

  4. a wonderful post – I vowed not to read any 9/11 posts today – you are only my second and last –but am glad I read yours – I am thankful for the same things you are thankful for

    1. It’s a good day to be sad and a hard day to be happy. If we’re living for the day though? I say embrace happiness. Thanks for reading…I hope you’re out enjoying life. =)

      1. hope you are too – that is the right attitude 🙂

    1. That might be the most concise, well-written comment I’ve ever seen. Thanks, Guap.

  5. Love this, Stacie. Beautifully written.

    1. Thanks Beth. I love your post too.

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wonderful tribute, Stacie. I think you captured what so many of us feel. I, too, am thankful for so much. Thank you for reminding me to be so.

    1. Thank you for thanking me, Carrie. You’re such a good person.

      1. Carrie Rubin says:

        Maybe I’ve got you fooled. Perhaps I’m a 70-year-old man with a bad mullet who likes to jump out of bushes and scare people. 😉

        And now I’ve just left a joke on your very nice post, but I think you’ll forgive me.

      2. I’ll only forgive you if you’re not really a 70-year old man with a bad mullet. A 70 year-old man with a GOOD mullet, however, is a different story.

      3. Carrie Rubin says:

        Okay, I’ll fess up. I really AM a middle-aged woman. But I did have a bad mullet in the past. Is there such a thing as a good one?…

      4. I feel a blog post coming on. For you though, not me. Mine would be on gravity defying bangs.

      5. Carrie Rubin says:

        Oh, yes, I’ve had those, too.

  7. Sarah Wezet says:

    You did a spectacular job writing this piece. So much heart, soul, and real feelings. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks Sarah. I think it’s important to remember things we might want to forget, and I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. =/

  8. Brother Jon says:

    I am thankful that we have wonderful people like you to write great post like this one. Thank you for this.

    1. Thank YOU for such kind words, Brother Jon.

  9. WSW says:

    Gratitude is a beautiful thing. Thanks for framing the day for me.

    1. Thanks for your amazing post. I added a link to it at the bottom of mine.

  10. bharatwrites says:

    Poignant and beautiful! And you’re totally right—it’s important to remember and be grateful.

    1. You and Wendy gave me a good idea. I just added links to your essays at the bottom of my post. It’s also important to share. =)

      1. bharatwrites says:

        I added your post and Wendy’s too.

      2. I hope you didn’t feel any pressure! I truly love the blog/community thing WordPress supports, and am so happy to highlight yours. =)

      3. bharatwrites says:

        Not at all! I enjoyed reading it, and I’m more than happy to highlight it.

  11. I’m also grateful. Today is a hard day but that’s a good perspective. I think I’ll work on that.

    1. Please thank Hubs from me for all that he does to protect people like me, every day and any day. =)

  12. Beautiful post Stacie. We said a lot of the same things, just using different wording. 🙂

    1. It’s so amazing to me that people from different countries, like you, can tap into the feeling of what it was like to be an American that day. Although Canada and America are practically sisters, so maybe it’s not so much of a stretch, right? =)

      1. Not at all Stacie. And you realize that YOU are the little sister, right? 🙂

      2. Wait…I’m you’re little sister? America is Canada’s little sister? Either way, I was always the oldest growing up while my little brother SKATED on my wake, so I’m happy to hand over the steering wheel. =)

      3. I called you the little sister because we are bigger and if you check a map, you’ll see that we’re on top. 😉

      4. Fair point. It’s always good to be on top. I like the thought of being the younger sister, too. I’ve always been the oldest and that really sucks. =)

      5. I’ve always been the oldest too. It would be nice to have an older sibling to lean on once in awhile. 🙂

  13. What a great post about this day, really. I’ve read quite a few that focused on the politics of it all, and reliving their experiences on that day, but nothing like this.

    I’m sorry to hear about your college friend, but happy to hear your husband was safe. What a scary thing that must have been for both of you.

    1. Thanks Jen, and thanks for tagging my post on FB. You’re an incredibly supportive writer and a great person. I appreciate it!

  14. aparnauteur says:

    Very evocative! I’ve often wondered about the same sentiment you’ve expressed in the first line of your post. I think it is important, even therapeutic to reflect on past happenings, especially the sad ones, to feel grateful and remember the ones who matter to you.

    1. What a positive comment, Aparna. Thanks for coming by and taking the time…

  15. Dani Heart says:

    Powerful poignant words. Well said. 🙂

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and to leave such a sweet note. =)

  16. Beautiful sentiments here. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. It’s hard enough to get through the terrible sadness of this day without knowing anyone personally who was affected. I can’t imagine how hard it is for those who lost someone, too.

    1. Thanks for such a sweet comment. I appreciate it. =/

  17. I loved this post, Stacie! Thank you.

  18. I remember. A day does not go by when I don’t think about those poor people and their families. I hope they have found some comfort. It is good to be grateful just as it is good to remember so we don’t let it happen again.

    1. You’re a sweetheart, SSG.

  19. i mayfly says:

    Your words move me. Inspire me. Remind me. Challenge me. What more could a writer ask?

    Good work, Stacie. -Nikki

    1. What more could I ask in the form of a compliment? Thank you, Nikki.

  20. Beautifully done. I am sorry for the loss of your friend in this terrible tragedy, it makes it doubly hard to bear. You did a wonderful job of opening your heart and ours.

    1. Valentine, you are so sweet. I wish you were my next door neighbor so we could have a glass of wine together and chat about life and I could soak up your wisdom real-time. =)

  21. Moving words about a terrible event that still continues to rock the world. This was a wonderful, heartfelt post.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Ken, and thanks for stopping by. =)

      1. My pleasure – sorry I’ve not been around much recently. Terrible internet problems 😦

      2. Sorry to hear that. Glad to see you you back. =)

  22. Laura says:

    I think it is important to remember, and be grateful,and this is a lovely tribute. But I think it’s also important on anniversaries like 9/11 to reflect on our country’s presence in the world and how we can learn from tragedy. Being a victim of someone else’s unjustified violence is an opportunity to examine the nature of violence and how we participate, as well. For example, I don’t really agree that this country was “built from nothing,” as several hundred thousand Native people might not either. There was a great something here, and throughout the Americas, when European contact occurred. It was systematically destroyed with every manner of violence in order to build this country on a foundation of genocide and slavery. I’m just saying, the darkness isn’t always “out there.”

    1. All excellent points. I would expand, but I’ve had a couple of cocktails and am up way too late. In addition, I couldn’t agree or disagree with what you’ve written in a manner that comes close to your eloquence, so I’ll abstain. Just to look smart. =)

      1. Laura says:

        🙂 You are so funny. Wednesday Home Happy Hour… what could be better?!

  23. Beautifully written post. My son asked me about it last week and I found it hard to form the right words. Especially when he asked me why it happened.

    1. Thanks, Darla. I think our kids are around the same age, and explaining to an 8 year-old that there are truly bad people in the world by that example is no fun. =/

  24. bronxboy55 says:

    It all still seems so real, and at the same time, like a bad dream. Thank you for commemorating this terrible event with such a beautiful post, Stacie. I hope your children never have to witness anything like what happened that day.

    1. Me too. Thanks, Charles. =/

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