Like most Americans, the events of September 11, 2001, had a profound impact on my wife, Heather, and myself. In May of that year, Heather raised her right hand and joined the Air National Guard. She was a part of the 200th Red Horse Squadron out of Port Clinton, Ohio. When she first met with recruiters, they talked about all of the humanitarian missions they conducted each year; mostly they built schools and repaired bridges in Latin and South America. September 11th changed those plans for her, and eventually led her to deploy to Iraq. September 11th is also the reason I ultimately decided to go back into the Air Force Reserves. I had been off of active duty for several years, but I found myself raising my right hand again in the spring of 2003 and taking a familiar oath.
I share this with you because I really hadn’t taken time this week to think about the events of 9/11 until the date itself. Rachel, my (as of today) 12-year old, had a school assignment to interview someone who was alive during the attacks. We talked – a lot. On Thursday evening she and I sat and watched video clips. I answered her questions. Her sister, Sydney, also had a lot of questions that I answered on Friday morning before school. As she and I were watching a video of the destruction of that day, she turned to me and asked “Daddy, are you crying?” On Friday evening, we all sat together and watched other videos and talked about how we
remembered 9/11. What perspective did my wife and I really want to leave with our girls?
What we really want to remember is September 12th.
On the morning of 9/11/2001, we saw some of the worse of humanity; later that same day, we began to see some of the best of humanity. While many of us were still reeling from what had occurred, we were also more united as a people on September 12th. We were kinder; we helped one another; we bickered less.
While we all have our own way of remembering that day, I hope the days following are also part of that remembrance. I am fortunate that my oldest daughter was born on 9/12 (seven years after the fact). Every year, I not only remember the evil that occurred on 9/11, but I also get to experience, through her eyes, the joy of life, hope, and optimism of 9/12.
I have included this video for you. If you haven’t seen the massive effort that went into evacuating Manhattan on that Tuesday in 2001, this video (entitled “Boatlift” and with Tom Hanks narrating) will be worth your time:
Please remember that we are “here” and available for you. If you have any questions or concerns, financial or otherwise, please do not hesitate to call or email. If you have friends, family, or neighbors you feel would benefit from a conversation with me, I’m more than happy to have a call or jump on a Zoom meeting with them.
As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy!