I sat Taylor down in front of the TV to do her hair for kindergarten. The TV was on NBC from news the night before and Matt Lauer was talking about a plane hitting the 1st tower and postulating about whether it was an accident or not. I called Scott thinking he'd have the scoop on the internet but he hadn't heard anything about it and hung up to do some searching. I watched as the 2nd tower was struck and remember thinking that I just needed to stay calm and get Taylor off to school so that I could give this insanity my full attention. She left and as it became clearer that the destruction was intentional, I remember crying.
I cried as I watched the smoke column skyward and people plummet out of windows. I cried as the buildings crumbled. I cried as the emergency workers ran toward the chaos and others fled. I cried as people searched frantically for loved ones and as the wall of missing people grew. It seemed like I cried for weeks as the acts of heroism and stories of survival were documented. It seemed like I would cry forever.
But like everyone else in the country, I was also filled with an amazing sense of patriotism and love for my fellow man. I was so proud to see people stepping up to find ways to serve and help make a difference. I was inspired by my own little girl who, after learning about what had happened, went door to door asking for coins to donate to the families of the fallen. She gathered about $5.00-a fortune to a 5 year old- and we sent it to New York. It seemed like all hearts were softened and the tragedy was yielding to something great.
It makes me cry even now, eight years later, to remember the lives lost and the horror of that day, but I hope that we can all remember the camaraderie we felt and the empowerment that filled us as we realized our potential to some degree. It's easy to lose sight of that when we get bogged down in the minutia of every day life, but it's that very craziness that should remind us how lucky we are. We are alive, we are free, we are blessed. That's what I try to remember.