Remembering to Remember

This morning as I cleaned the bathroom I thought of September 11, 2001. I was thinking that many mothers may have been doing the same not knowing that day their own children, husbands, sisters, mother, aunts, uncles and wives may be lost. I thought about where I was at that time too. I had just graduated. I was just twenty-one and I was managing a hotel near the Great Lakes Naval Base. I remember seeing the helicopters go up before I really knew exactly what was going on and then I remember the phone calls from the base. Hold all rooms. Something major had happened and the rest of the day was a blur. It consisted of finding rental cars, finding hotel rooms, finding buddies for guests to drive home with, holding rooms, releasing rooms and preparing for what was going to be a change in our nation. Forever.

The sadness that lay over our country was pressing. It was overwhelming and it was something I had never experienced in life. Many of us had never felt this searing pain in our lives losing people we knew, watching stories of people we didn't and wondering what the world would turn out to be.

Then in the wake of the sadness months later it seemed that sadness lead to something I had never seen. It lead to kindness, understanding and a country that seemed stronger than it had been months before. I remember seeing people hold doors, let others go first, offer kind smiles and even perform acts of kindness that I hadn't witnessed before.

In time it seems though we have forgotten. Sure, we still think of the lives lost and we think of the years gone by, what could have been of those who are no longer in our presence but it seems we have forgotten what that pain was and how it propelled us to be a kinder, softer nation that reached out and gave to others.

Today as we remember the lives lost, the days that followed and the way our country changed, I want to be that kinder, gentler person I was in the days, months and even years that followed. I want to remember those I knew and those I didn't and honor their memory.

I urge all of us to slow down, to reach out, to give to those around us and to remember how the honoring of lives is more than just a day. It is about honoring their spirit and embodying that spirit to make this world a better place.


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