Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Forever Changed by 9/11

Moments permanently etched into memory ...

On September 11, 2001, I'd just returned to work after visiting New York for the weekend. My mother had moved to the East Coast to live with my husband and I (a big change for a newlywed couple), and our son, who'd not yet been conceived, would be born the following year. I lived in a bubble that included only my family and closest friends.

The world was "out there."

You see, I'd never known the kind of terror and loss of personal security that resulted from the attacks of 9/11. The kind of terror that so many people in other parts of the world have experienced in their day-to-day lives at the hands of terrorists. But that changed. After the events of that morning, I'd never, again, watch the news feeling disconnected from the rest of the world, because the bubble I'd lived in was an illusion. I was the people living abroad; they were me.

Geography was all that separated us.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial to pay my respects, and came away feeling inspired by our country's resilience in the face of tragedy. I felt hope and optimism for the future. The 9/11 Memorial, with it's wooded grounds and two reflecting pools, is a sight quite different from the one I'd seen several years earlier, when I'd laced my fingers through a chain-link fence and gaped in disbelief at the wound in the ground. I remembered ... the deafening sound of bulldozers moving earth ... an enormous American flag whose corners furled in the wind as it draped to the side of a nearby building ... my husband down on one knee next to me, praying.

So many questions and fears have plagued me since the events of that day. The biggest and most important being, how to raise a son who understands what happened without compromising his innocence, compassion and tolerance?

Today, on this eleventh anniversary, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the souls who lost their lives and to the families and friends who continue to love them.

I've been forever changed and will never forget.