It was a day like any other day. People moving at a fast pace, scurrying from one place to another. And some may have forgotten to kiss loved ones as they made their way on yet another busy day. Then at 8:46 am EST time seemed to stand still. In disbelief, many stared at their television screens and computers, hoping that what they were seeing was not real. That was the moment when the first of four hijacked planes, American Airlines Flight 11, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

Some were sick that day and didn’t go to work. Others were late for work and narrowly missed being a casualty, and yet others went directly into the perilous situation attempting to rescue as many people as they could.

No one ever expects their hug or kiss to be the last one. Such loss happens to “other people”. Only on 9/11, the tremendous loss experienced was felt by our entire nation, and Americans rallied together to stop the terrorists unleashing their hatred on our nation.

Each year as this anniversary comes, those who remember 9/11 renew their promise to never forget the horrific loss and tremendous heroism displayed that day and the connectedness we all felt as Americans.

We always remember and never forget because:

  • Strength. 9/11 is the day that changed America…and the world. Innocence gone and a heightened sense of the need for security, we joined together as a nation and became stronger.
  • Heroism. The heroism of those on board Flight 93 (“Let’s Roll!”) and of firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, civilians and bystanders prevented the loss of hundreds or thousands of additional lives.
  • Patriotism. The patriotism of those who fought back against the terrorists and of the first responders unified America.
  • Sacrifice. The American spirit of coming together, neighbor helping neighbor; first responders sacrificing their lives attempting to save others was a shining example of selfless sacrifice.
  • Faith. We did not give in or give up. And miracles happened even in that dark time.

May we honor all who served and all who perished on 9/11 today, praying still for those left behind and a strengthening of our spiritual heritage in our country.

May we remember to love and cherish those who get to do life with us and strangers, too, as we recall the phone calls from the planes to their loved ones (some talking to their loved ones, others leaving messages on answering machines, others talking to telephone operators).  What would YOU say to your loved ones if you knew that today was your last day on earth?

May we leave nothing left unsaid that we will wish we had said.  Things like, “I love you”, “I’m so proud of you”, “I’m sorry; will you forgive me?”.

May we never grow complacent in recognizing the sacrifice of others for our freedom.

As we remember 9/11, we can always remember the legacy of those who lost their lives by visiting the 9-11 Memorial in NYC and/or the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA or buying a copy of “Let’s Roll” by Lisa Beamer, the wife of Todd Beamer; one of the heroes on Flight 93.