9/11 Never Forget

by Heather Tankersley
9/11 Never Forget

I’ll never forget the morning of 9/11… I was fast asleep when my Nokia flip phone rang with my best friend on the other end of the line asking me if I “had the TV on”.

In my groggy state of mind, I tried to make sense of what she was saying. As she was talking, I stumbled into the living room and turned the TV on just as the second tower was hit.NY News 9/11

I remember being confused and trying to make sense of what was happening. “SURELY it couldn’t have been an accident? But what else COULD it be? Nobody would do this…” I remember calling friends in New York and trying to message them on AOL Messenger because the lines were all busy…

I remember hearing that my dearest friend from high school was ALMOST on one of the flights that hit the towers and had a last minute change of plans with her work schedule..

The days and weeks that followed were a blur as I sat with friends wondering what the world would look like and if we would ever get back to normal. Yet, at the same time, people were a little kinder to one another. People stopped to say hello to neighbors. People slowed down a bit and didn’t take the small things for granted. It was like we had all been shaken and remembered what was really important.

Fast forward several years and I was with my now husband in NYC and we went by the site that would eventually become the memorial and I was immediately thrust back into my living room on that fateful day back in 2001. I felt all the same emotions. My heart hurt for those that lost their lives and their loved ones.

I thought about all the “boys” I’d gone to high school with that had gone off to fight in the first Gulf War. Once again, I was overcome with gratitude and sadness at the same time.

It’s hard to believe that this Saturday marks the 20 year anniversary of this event that changed America. But it’s also not lost on me that there is an entire generation that was too young to grasp what happened or hadn’t even been born and will only learn about 9/11 from the history books.

So how, then, can we continue to honor those that lost their lives that day… and all of the men and women around the world who have also suffered since then? All of the men and women who have died to protect America and our freedom?

It’s more than thanking a soldier or donating money to help the Afghans escape the Taliban. It’s about remembering those moments on 9/11/2001 and what followed. It’s about turning off social media and holding on to those that are sitting right next to you in the same room.

It’s about seeking to understand those with differing opinions rather than trying to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Never forget 911I believe it’s about the humanity that we all experienced back in 2001 when we were all UNITED instead of so divided.

So, this weekend, take a moment to remember where you were that day… how you felt in the days that followed… and the promises you made to yourself and your loved one. Turn off social media and embrace the people in your circle.

And… please take a moment of silence or say a prayer (if you’re so inclined) for all of those families who lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. They never got to say goodbye…

Never Forget… 

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