September 11, 2001
I was getting my son ready for school. He was in the first grade.
He watched cartoons in the morning, so I had no idea what was happening across the nation on the east coast. My husband called me around 6:55am to ask if I had seen what was going on in New York City.
I turned on the news shows and saw only one tower standing in New York.
"Aren't there two towers in downtown New York?" I asked my husband.
And that's when he told me what had happened.
A Nation Mourns
I dropped off my son at school and drove to our church's Bible study that morning as I had done for many Tuesday mornings before. I listened to the talk radio shows to find out more about what happened.
Instead of Bible study, all of us stood around and prayed for our nation.
We all had this sinking feeling that our nation was at war.
Later, I picked up my son from school and headed home to watch the reports on television. And that's when I saw it.
I saw the images of the planes hitting the towers. Over and over again, the news replayed those images of the airplanes hitting the towers.
I couldn't believe we lived in a world of technology where such tragedy could be captured the instant it happened.
I wept as I saw people running for their lives to get out of the city. I saw the images of the Pentagon with pieces of the plane scattered all over the green grass.
When I heard the news that Marines had died in the attack, I got up and headed out to our garage. I found our flag and pole. I proceeded to hang the flag outside in our front yard with tears in my eyes. I wanted to honor the men and women of the armed forces who died in the Pentagon that day.
By sunset, almost every house on our block had their flags out flying. Ours remained out there for one solid year.
Later that night, President Bush spoke from the Oval Office. He looked exhausted and weary from the day's events. When he spoke, he talked about the little children without parents that evening...and his eyes became shiny with tears.
I lost it.
I watched my son play with his dinosaurs on the ground in front of the TV and thought of those little kids who lost their moms or dads...or both parents that day.
September 11, 2012
All these years later, our nation has truly changed since that day on the east coast.
So many people will be mourning their loved ones again on this anniversary of the attacks.
We will fly our flag proudly today. We will say the Pledge of Allegiance in my classroom today. And we will remember those who lost their lives that day in the attacks and in the rescue attempts.
They would want us to stop and remember.
But they would also want us to go on with our lives, to honor their memories by living a full life with joy and happiness and love.
Your turn: How will you reflect on this anniversary of September 11th?