Nineteen years. Nineteen years ago, This day changed everything. So many people had their lives flipped upside down. So many people had their lives taken from them.
It was just supposed to be a normal day.
People went to work. Kids went to school.
Hugs were given. I love you’s were said. Laughter filled kitchens. Arguments from the night before were fixed. Some were late for the bus. It was someone’s turn to get donuts. Someone’s car wouldn’t start.
People watched the sunrise, not knowing that they would never see it set.
Kids hugged parents before going into school, not knowing that it would be the last time.
People said things that they never meant, and would have reconciled… if they had the time. The chance.
Parents rushed out of the house that morning, maybe forgetting to say “I love you.”
The time it takes to flip your life upside down can be a matter of seconds.
The 9/11 attack killed 2,996 people. Normal, quirky, happy, unhappy, frustrated, at peace. Everyday people.
Lives ended prematurely.
Wives became widows, husbands became widowers. Mothers lost their precious babies. A part of themselves. Fathers lost the ones they had sworn to always protect and love. Siblings lost brothers and sisters. Children came home to one parent that night, or were picked up by child protective services. Families were ripped apart.
There was no one who was not directly affected. Some more than others, but everyone was feeling the effects. The loss. The mourning. This was an attack not only on America, but on life. On happiness. Religion didn’t matter. Ethnicity didn’t matter. Age didn’t matter. Sex didn’t matter. Who they loved didn’t matter.
A murder of almost three thousand people. For nothing more than the nation they lived in.
For weeks after September 11, 2001, people were shaken to the core.
Today, we remember. We feel it. The tremors have not ended, nor will they ever end. Not only is 9/11 a day of remembrance, but it is a day to contemplate life and appreciate those who we love.
In the midst of this pandemic, we are losing people. We are fighting an uphill battle. Losing thousands. Loved ones, of all ages.
And this virus doesn’t care who it affects.
Religion, ethnicity, age, sex, relationships. None of that is taken into consideration.
People are people. Human. Equal. Alive. From the second our hearts first beat to the last breath we breathe. We are loved. We love. We matter.
We all matter.
Life is unpredictable. Life is messy. Life is painful. Life is fragile. Life is a gift taken for granted.
But life is beautiful.
The cry of a newborn baby who fought its way into this world. The love of a mother and father, nurturing and helping their child grow. The patience of a boss, training a kid who has never had a job before. The cheers of a coach who pushes you, knowing you can do it. The laughter at midnight, over the little moments that don’t even make sense.
It’s about the memories. It’s about falling in love. It’s about waking up to a kid’s excitement on Christmas Day. It’s about singing and dancing with your best friends. It’s about pinky promises. It’s about breakfast with family. It’s about hugs given, and kisses met. It’s about the relief following the anxiety of holding someone’s hand for the first time. It’s about taking a risk. It’s about taking a leap. It’s about faith. It’s about hope.
It’s about the adventures.
It’s about living.
Life is meant to be embraced.
If there is anything that this life has taught me, it’s that nothing is promised. You never know who is going to wake up. Who is going to come back. Who you are hugging for the last time. Who is struggling and just needs to be loved.
Every day. Every night. No matter what we have talked about, argued about, laughed about, cried over, or if we have even talked that day, I refuse to go to sleep knowing that there is an “I love you” that needs to be said and I just didn’t take the time to do it.
Today, don’t just remember. Honor their memory. Enjoy life. Smile. Laugh. Hug someone you love.
Don’t leave those I love you’s unsaid.