I opened the door with sweaty palms and flipped the TV on as I dropped to the floor to stretch from my morning run. Matt and Katie were droning on the Today Show about some explosion. I wasn’t really listening.
Second by second, the views on the screen shook my awareness and I sat up straight realizing this was not a replay of some historical event. As I lay on plush carpet in sunny Florida, my neighbors in New York were under attack.
For hours, days and weeks following that day, we Americans tried to make sense of it all. We offered empty words of encouragement to those who lost loved ones. Bravely vowed we would go on, even rebuild.
Men and women stood in line to volunteer for our armed forces. As a nation, we went and we conquered our enemies. We took back that which we are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America: freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, fourteen years later, some of us don’t feel the pain as raw as it was that day. We have found a way to go on living in America. We have found ways to honor those who fought and remember those who died by living our lives to the fullest.
I can only imagine that day when dust from a towering monstrosity of American capitalism darkened the streets of Manhattan, choking the life out of those who had built it into the success it was. If I listen, I can almost hear the crushing of metal as the buildings destroyed fire trucks and police cars as if they were toys under foot.
I cannot comprehend the hollowness of empty fire houses where brave men and women once served, or wives, husbands and children who waited in desperation to hear from their loved one they knew was in the line of fire. As the days and weeks passed, so did the hope that some miracle had saved them from that tragic fate.
No, I was not there and I can only look at video feeds and pictures and unsuccessfully conjure up in my limited imagination what it must have felt like. Many died that day, and in the years that followed.
Though I fail miserably at trying to understand the enormity of painful loss on that day, this I know with absolutely unwavering certainty. AMERICA DID NOT LOSE! That one event that rocked our world and sent Americans into a tailspin, also ignited the flame of freedom within the hearts of us all.
From the northern most part of main to the border of southern California, Americans stood up for our nation. We united together for one cause. We joined hands across racial, ethical and political barriers to stand for what we believe in: FREEDOM!
Years have passed and headlines have moved more toward politics and fashion but today we live in a thriving nation because of 9/11. America picked ourselves up by the bootstraps and did what we do: keep living.
Today we remember those who fought in New York City, at the Pentagon and Pennsylvania that day. We remember those who dropped everything and took up arms to fight since then. We pause with gratitude as we memorialize those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Freedom is not free. But free Americans we are on this sunny September day. Americans we will remain because of who we are, and in spite of who our enemies are.
GOD BLESS THE USA!