Every Sept. 11 I immerse myself in stories of that day — stories of heroes, stories about people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, first responders, reporters, everyday people. I watch the memorial services and listen to special coverage on the radio.
It’s a lot to take in. I have to take a lot of breaks. I’ve always been an emotional person, so I have to give myself time for the tears to flow.
Sometime around mid-day, I have to do something else. This year, it being a Saturday, I turned on a football game and prepped dinner for the crock pot.
Finished with my chores, I sat down and looked out the window at the beautiful, clear, sunny day. It’s a funny thing — I mentioned that to my girlfriend this morning and she said she couldn’t remember a Sept. 11 that wasn’t exactly like this. Exactly like that morning. I thought about it, and though I’m sure there must have been a cloudy, rainy or hot day in there, damned if I could remember it.
I think reading and experiencing the memories of that day are important. In time, we will be gone and the memories will fade. I reread things I have written in the past and I realize I don’t remember as many specifics as I used to about what I did that day. And so I read and experience every year to keep those moments alive.
But as I look out on that bright, sunny day right now, I know something else. I know it is important for us to live, too.
So, go outside. Play with your kids. Take them somewhere fun. Spend time with friends and loved ones. Hug your families. Call someone. Tell them you love them. Tell them you are thankful to have them in your life. Throw a burger or two on the grill. Play some golf. Go to a football game or watch it in your basement with your friends. Whatever makes you happy. Put away all the political division and bullshit for a day and just be thankful for the moment.
You see, that’s what those radicals who came here didn’t understand. They came here because they wanted to inflict pain on us. To disrupt our lives. They wanted to hurt us. To break us.
Maybe I’m nuts, but I think every moment we move beyond that pain, we give the criminals who committed those heinous acts a bigger middle finger than any drone strike ever could.
And when I think about the people on Flight 93 who decided they were going to take fate into their own hands, I become more and more convinced each moment we spend living our lives to the fullest is the greatest honor we can bestow on those we lost that tragic day.