Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Years

I really debated writing a post about 9/11. The blogosphere is full of posts commemorating this day and I just wasn't sure that I needed to weigh in; but I spent the 10th anniversary of this tragedy in New York City, on a plane, flying above the Manhattan skyline and figured, I may as well make a comment or two.

I am sure I don't need to provide the synopsis surrounding this milestone, we are all aware of what happened and where it happened and how it has affected us personally and as a nation.

Growing up, it was common to hear people my parents' age discuss where they were and what they were doing at the point in time when JFK was shot. Even now, it is still a common phrase. In many ways, 9/11 will be my generation's point in time - one that we will all recall where we were and what we were doing on that day.

I was a sophomore in college and I had just left a marketing course and hopped into my Honda to return to my off-campus apartment. The apartment on 7th street- my very first apartment in fact. I remember the radio was on in the car and I could hear chatter about the Kansas City airport being shut down, but my attention hadn't been captured beyond that point. Upon returning to my place, I flipped on the tv to see what I and the rest of the country would remember forever.

No one had a cellphone or Internet that didn't dial up, so I just sat there and watched and waited for any additional news to unfold.

I'm not sure that the impact of what I was witnessing settled in right away, but over the course of the next few hours, it certainly did. I very vividly remember going to Walmart, buying 150 plastic silver stars, attaching red/white/blue ribbon to them with safety pins and handing them out at the bell tower prayer service that evening. I guess in many ways no one knew what they should be doing, but I knew I wanted to be doing something.

Beyond that, there isn't much that I remember about this day 10 years ago.

This year, being in NYC on 9/11 was a reminder that life goes on. I flipped on the tv to be connected to the moment of silence that was happening live at Ground Zero just a few miles from me. I stepped out onto the balcony of the 21st floor where I was staying and waited to be a part of the silence, but it never came. As taxi cabs and firetrucks continued their daily commute, life in NYC and around the world continued on, thankfully without incident.

I won't go into the nightmare that flying in general has become for me over the past few years, unrelated to these events. I also won't detail what a hot mess I was flying on this day in particular, but what I will say is landing safely back home never felt so good.

Reflecting on this anniversary caused me to reflect on the past decade of my life in general and focus on where I am today. It also made me realize just how quickly an entire decade of life flies by.

Wheels down in KC and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life, my family and my home. A lot has happened in the past 10 years and more than ever, I am so happy that life does in fact go on. I have found that gratitude in life is so important and every day, regardless of triumph or tragedy, we should take a moment to express that.

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