I know I'm not the only one who's been reflective today. My DVR is inundated with documentaries filled with sobering images and heroic stories that have pulled at my heartstrings and tugged at my memories from 10 years ago.
I am one who loves to reminisce and reflect on where I've been and the journey that has molded me. Today's anniversary prodded me to dig out some pictures from that time, one of which was this one. You'll notice the date was exactly 2 days before the events of 9/11....
This picture caught me off guard a bit. How could it be that a memory could feel like a million years ago and just yesterday all at the same time? I was visiting my cousin whose wife had just had a beautiful baby boy.
I was a single 23-year-old working and going to school. My life epitomized freedom and was filled with nothing but happiness and hope for a bright future! When I look in my eyes in that picture, I simultaneously envy and pity the person I was then -- so naive and so much to learn....
As I drove to work that fateful morning, I listened to the radio as I always did. They talked about how a plane had flown into one of the towers. I was particularly awe-struck by that because I had just vacationed in New York a few months prior and knew how massive and central they were. I was also dating a pilot at the time and knew to some degree all the rules and regulations that should have prevented something like this from happening. I could hardly pick my jaw up as I listened.
When they said a 2nd plane had flown into the other tower, and as it became more and more apparent that this was an obvious and intentional attack, my heart sank. I couldn't imagine the vast buildings being struck, not to mention the lives that had been and would be taken because of these acts. I so vividly remember being at the bottom and in between the two towers. They seemed massive and impenetrable. Yet the unthinkable had happened.
Before I knew it, I realized that as I listened and drove, I had driven right past my exit to get to work.... FOUR exits past it, as a matter of fact. I re-routed myself and headed to work -- again.
My co-workers and I gathered around a small TV in the break room and watched as news of other attacks were reported. All I remember thinking was, 'What are they going to do next?' I thought we were in a state of unending attacks and war. I remember so vividly a feeling of FEAR and I just wanted to be with the people I loved. Yet when our president encouraged us to turn to God, and it seemed that the nation as a whole DID turn to God, that fear slowly melted away.
Over the past few weeks, as I've watched documentaries about the harrowing events of that day, I've noticed a theme. People are stronger than they think and people overcome. In the face of adversity, the overriding spirit within most of us is courage and an indominable will to survive and help others survive as well.
Today's reflection has awakened that spirit in me to survive and thrive, to help others more, to overcome, and to have a greater appreciation for my loved ones and my freedoms. Although the events of that day were tragic indeed, the lessons learned are invaluable and I'm grateful.