15 years later

This weekend I was blessed with the means to travel back to Kansas City for one of my closest friends 30th birthday. It was one of those weekends where it didn’t matter what you did but it was the best thing you’ve ever done. I was lucky enough to meet the 3 newest members of our group (2 babies and one pup) and share stories with my favorite girls. It just so happens these girls were also there 15 years ago as well as some of the most important people in my life. So it was only fitting that the 15th anniversary of one of the darkest days in my lifetime fell on this weekend.

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This is the first time I have flown on Sept 11th. This day has always weighed on my heart but today was different. I was boarding my flight this morning at the same time the first plane hit 15 years ago.  All morning and weekend really, I thought of those 300+ passengers and crew aboard 4 planes on this day all those years ago. They arrived much the same as me that morning. Passing through security and awaiting their time to find their seat on an aircraft that was nearly identical to the 737 I traveled home on today as well. Some were probably half asleep, perhaps a handful were anxious as the plane climbed to it’s cruising altitude, still more were looking forward to being home just as I was. They didn’t get to land and hug their spouses, they didn’t get to stretch out their legs and grab breakfast. They didn’t get to be annoyed with the slow poke in front of them as they exited the plane. They didn’t get these things because a group of cowards decided to use them as weapons that day. To rip them from their families and loved ones. To put a hole in our entire nation, a wound that will never completely heal. My heart was with each of them that lived that terror and their families while giving thanks to the many service men and women and airport workers who have since fought to ensure that never happens again, those who got me safely home today. It could have been any of us, it could have been any day but those 4 planes were chosen, chosen for us to always remember.

I have been in love with New York City for as long as I can remember. I got to travel there 5 years after the attacks. I saw the giant hole at ground zero, the pieces of the trade center that remained. It echoed in silence as the city still mourned.  I never saw the towers in their glory but they will always be a part of the skyline to me. I stand with all those that didn’t make it home on Sept 11, 2001, who thought it to be just any other day. I pray for the family and friends who buried empty coffins and who still grieve as I know I would.  Half of my life has known this day and the fear and terror that has seeped into our country because of a hatred that is rooted in a lie. I can only hope that one day we no longer have to fear those that we don’t understand and that don’t understand us. That we can live in peace and choose love over hate. Someday maybe we can return to what we felt on Sept 10, 2001, before we saw such great loss.  In the meantime, let’s just take each day as a beautiful gift and spend those few extra moments with our husbands, wives, children and friends. Let’s choose not to rush off the phone and to say “I love you” every chance we get. Let’s honor those we lost 15 years ago everyday by choosing to live and love and not to hide and fear.

May we NEVER forget. 9/11/2001

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