I will never forget.
It was a beautiful day in Central Florida. President George W. Bush was at MacDill Air Force Base, not too far away from where I was working at the time, and I switched on the TV in hopes of seeing some coverage on the local news station of his visit. I shook the baby’s bottle and settled into the rocking chair, cradling the 3-month-old little boy who was in my care, and smiled as his little hands grasped at the bottle while he got down to business.
I glanced at the TV and thought I was seeing a movie trailer, so I drifted off into the world of daydreams and what I had to do that day. I was a freshman in college, working my way through school as a nanny for triplet boys (who were safely at school) and their baby brother, who was quite content at that moment. There was much to do that day, and I was anxious for the baby to finish his bottle so he could go down for his nap and I could get to work.
And suddenly, it was apparent that I was NOT seeing a movie trailer. The camera cut from the horrific burning scene to the news desk and the ashen faces of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. I grabbed the remote and turned up the TV.
I don’t know how long I sat there. I know the baby was long finished with his bottle, and was sound asleep. I remember looking down at him and saying aloud, “And just like that, your life will never be the same.”
The rest of that day was a blur. Trying to protect the kids from seeing the news. Wondering about friends who lived in New York. Unable to confirm the details we were all waiting for.
And then the Pentagon. And then the field in Pennsylvania. I was suddenly very aware of the evil that resides in this world.
As the days went on, we watched in horror while more photos emerged, more videos of terrified people were released, and our hearts broke over and over again.
12 years later, this particular photo still tears my heart to pieces.
Several years later, I stood at the site of the devastation in New York City. And the one thing I noticed was how incredibly quiet it all was. Everything in New York was LOUD. Except right here. People milled all around me…silently. It was probably the most surreal experience of my life.
Will you take time today to pause and remember? Do you remember where you were that day? Do you remember what you felt? Do you remember how life changed on September 11, 2001?
Please. Pause. Remember. Some time today, stop and silence yourself in honor of those who lost their lives and their families. And for my international readers, please, say a prayer for America today. Because today is a day when our country’s heart hurts. As we pause to remember.
Because we will NEVER forget.