5,480 Days Later or 131,520 Hours Since or 7,891,200 Seconds Gone

It seems like so long ago and yet it feels like it just happened.  Why?  I still ask myself that many times.  It made no sense.  It seemed like something out of a bad horror movie.  Madness personified.  Human beings who thought they were doing something for a just cause.  Throwing their own lives away while taking out thousands of others.  Destruction on a mass scale.  I’ll never understand it as long as I live.

What happened to the feeling we had after?  When nothing could break us apart?  Yet, here we are, a country divided.  Sides drawn in the long battle of what the true measurement of life is.  How many more sacrifices will there have to be until we finally get it.  That each person is unique, a gift of life.  A person, whole and true.  When will the ugliness that separates us disappear for good?

Nothing will change what happened.  But we can change what will be.  We all make the choice every single day, in small ways and big ways.  We struggle to be free knowing in our hearts that our freedom is something that can fade if we have hate in our hearts.

Remember to love.  In the end, that’s all that matters.

 

 

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Wish You Were Here

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Ben Sturner took this picture, and NBC News 10 from New York City posted it on their Facebook page.  What a symbolic and beautiful message for hope.

14 years.  5,113 days.  That’s how many days the families and friends of nearly 3,000 lives have been in mourning for the loved ones lost that day.  I didn’t lose anyone I knew that day.  But I know many who did…

I know a spouse of someone who passed that day.  Her world was torn apart, but she rebuilt her life.  She got married again, and raised her children, including the one she carried inside her that day.  Every year, I see her Facebook page, and the amount of love and support she gets is amazing.  There are no words that will ever take away what happened, no magic to make it disappear.  The question mark will always be there.  But life does move on, one day at a time, one year at a time.

We all, at one point in our lives, wish someone else was still here.  I have quite a few.  Anniversaries are the worst.  But then again, there are the moments we experience, when we can almost feel that person right next to us, hear their voice in our mind, see their eyes.  I don’t think any of us can imagine what it feels like to lose someone until they are gone.  I believe they are in a better place than here, watching over all of us, pushing and pulling, trying to show us the paths we need to take.  We don’t always hear them.  The logic coming down from where they are is very different than the logic on this mortal plain.  The ghosts that we knew…

Walk On: In Remembrance of 9/11

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I wrote this many years ago on my older blog, Tales From Another Time, but I still believe in these words.  14 years later, when I really remember, I can still vividly recall every second of that horrible day.

Those four key strokes bring back so many memories for so many. For me, it reminds me of the darkest day I have ever known. Full of death, and fear, and tragedy. Any innocence I may have had, any idealistic hope I had for world peace, it died that day. I saw the face of hatred. I felt the fear the word terror brings. We all did. We cried. We prayed. We sat in front of our television sets and watched horror unfold before our eyes. We looked at an empty sky with a mind-numbing feeling of disbelief. We were in shock for weeks after. We knew there wouldn’t be many survivors. We wanted to close our eyes and pretend it didn’t happen, that people didn’t die that day, and yet, we couldn’t. We knew.

Every year, on that day, I try to remember it. I firmly believe it should be a national day of mourning. Not a holiday. A holiday is a day of celebration. This day should be a somber day. A day of remembrance. A day of solitude.

I honestly don’t think there has been a day since that I haven’t thought of it. It still makes me sad and angry. I think about my son, who will be five next week. And how he didn’t have to live on that day. He was born more than two and a half years later. For him, it will be a very important chapter in a history book. He will ask me what happened that day, and I will tell him. He will ask why, and whose fault it was. And I really don’t know what I will tell him. You can blame Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. You can blame the agencies that could have prevented it had they simply communicated with each other. But at the end of the day, what will that change? What happened, happened.

I think about the jumpers from time to time. And that painful choice they must have had. Die of fire and smoke or leap to certain death. For those who chose to look in pictures and on tv, those images will stay with us forever. I was raised Catholic. To me, suicide is not an option under any circumstances. But what do you call that choice? You know you are going to die. You won’t be saved. What do you do? I pray to God no one ever has to make that choice again.

Since that fateful day, the world has become a chaotic place. It has always been that way, but the mask was torn off that day. What we hoped and prayed wasn’t the case turned out to be very real. Wars have been fought, greed has elevated, and the world’s economy is the worst since the pre World War II years. I believe what we are looking at is evil run rampant. There is no black and white, or even gray areas. It is what it is and it is called chaos.

In the coming years, we will negotiate with fundamentalists who destroy lives. We will see the seeds of greed in our own homes, as the economic meltdown gets worse and every single household is affected. We will see uglier terroristic attacks and somewhere someone will die because of it. We will see the world reject us more and more as our environment is changed in ways we never imagined or in ways we didn’t want to see. We will see areas of the world once vibrant with life turned into desserts.

And yet, we will survive. We will do what we did in those days and weeks after 9/11. We will pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, and look for hope. I pray we will unite and conquer these problems together. Not by electing someone to lead us, but by truly coming together and defeating the evils that plague us. We need to stop blaming others for the shape of the world and form new shapes. We need to recognize that what someone believes in isn’t always wrong, but their own point of view. We need to walk on.

*Editor’s note: The original version of this appeared a year ago today.  I have added the U2 video and changed the number of years.

In Remembrance… Everyday

We remember…

The pain always comes back today…

But for some, they carry it…everyday…