I had started my day making breakfast for my husband and three children. Was it Cheerios or Raisin Bran? I don’t recall. Was it sunny or cloudy? I don’t recall. What I do remember was my husband getting a phone call from a friend telling him to turn on the television. We usually didn’t turn it on until after we finished our homeschooling in the afternoon.
Write Anywhere #9: Reflections on 9/11
He flipped the television on and turned it to NBC to see smoke coming from a skyscraper. It only took a few seconds to recognize the city was New York and the building was one of the Twin Towers. As we listened to the announcer report what was happening, we watched an airliner slam into the other tower. My husband and I gasped in unison and like a reflex we both started crying. Our children sat bewildered, not understanding how their world had changed.
Living in Oklahoma, my mind instantly went back to the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. April 19th, 1995. People, our neighbors, our countrymen, fellow human beings, had been going about their day when the unthinkable happened. The same emotions bubbled to the surface: shock, fear, sadness, compassion, anger.
Now there was another date that would never be erased from our memories. We sat transfixed in front of the screen for hours, crying, worrying and praying.
What happened was revealed hour by hour, day by day, and we eventually went back to our daily routine. The fact that thousands of families could never go back to a normal day hung in the back of our minds, but we tried not to think about it too much. It was too painful and too dangerous. We’d leave that to the professionals, whoever they were. We felt at a loss to make a difference.
But I came to realize that making a determination to live your life the best way you can is making a difference. Giving in to fear means that evil wins. Loving your spouse, nurturing your children, encouraging your friends, singing songs while you drive in the car, worshipping at your church, working at your job, walking your dog, digging in your garden, these are the things that overcome evil. And writing. Writing our memories. So no one ever forgets.
So a decade after evil made a scar on our hearts, we aren’t ashamed to show our collective scars and remember. Then we square our shoulders, we are vigilant and we continue. Evil won’t win.