Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9-11

[You can read my 9-11 tribute essay here]

Nine years can be many things to many people. It can be a lifetime, or it can be the blink of an eye. It can be a marriage, or earning a PhD. It can be a childhood, or the length of survival of a terminal illness. It can be nine years of time that heals, or a span of time punctuated with loss and sadness.

Today is different things for different people. Some people will choose to honor today, to honor the fallen by remembering, by mourning, by celebrating life. Other people will choose to move on, to live, by doing the things they do every day, but with just a little more emphasis and sadness in hopes of getting past the pain and heartache that this anniversary brings.

For me, there is something choked up and tangled inside of me every time I think about that Tuesday. It is something that is still pulsating, and twisting, unable to fathom the amount of pain and loss. I only knew one person who died on 9/11 and I knew him through proxy. The brother of a friend who wasn’t really a friend so much as an acquaintance that I’d lost touch with. But even so, I think about him; I think about the niece named for him that he’ll never know.

Then I think about the friend who was killed by a driver who was high and made a wrong turn. I think about my Uncle Donn, who died after being married for less than a year. I think about my grandfather and my friend Randy and about the people my friends have lost.

And amidst all that loss, I feel love and joy and hope. I don’t feel the sadness and the depression and the unparalleled pain, I just feel grateful. I feel like life is beautiful and colorful and worth living, without shame or hate or guilt or apologies.

The only way to really remember and mourn those who pass before us is to keep living our lives the best that we can. Remember how fragile the threads of life are. Tell people how you feel, try new things, go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

I know it’s a cliche to say that we should live as if it is our last day, but we SHOULD live as if it is our last day. That is how we can pay our respects and honor our loved ones, our heroes and our angels. It’s the only way and if you aren’t doing that, then you’re doing yourself and their memories a great disservice.

The only thing that validates dying is to keep on living.

**I realize of course that some people choose to look past the hype this day has brought. Sometimes numbing ourselves is necessary. Many say it's been long enough. Others rally at the drop of a hat for anything 9/11 related. I think it is important to remember events that change us, so I remember with my words.**

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