On September 11, 2001 I was living on a remote Colorado mountain ranch and enjoying my high energy three year old daughter doing cartwheels in the family room and happily feeding my always hungry three month old baby son. LIfe was wonderful! Knowing I don’t watch tv, my friend Kurstin called to tell me to turn it on. Watching a plane fly into the Twin Towers and all of the flames, my brain flashed to the legendary radio hoax of Orson Welles’ “War of the World” that created real life pandemonium. I was instantly upset over what I thought was a tv hoax and said “This is NOT funny!”
To this day, it seems impossible the events of 9/11 really happened. My brain and heart still don’t want to accept it as truth.
The truth is, there is a always a choice between …
- Right and Wrong
- Unity and Division
- Optimism and Oppression
That day, I learned about the power of unity as I watched law enforcement, fire fighters, and medical personnel working heroically to save as many people as possible.
Soon after, I witnessed our military vow to face oppression and through their actions, as a nation we renewed our optimism and commitment to freedom both here in the U.S. and for people on the other side of the world.
What 9/11 taught me is that we are all connected to each other in more ways than we realize. It also reinforced in me a dedication in my parenting, professional work, and personal legacy to do the right thing which is typically always the harder thing, to find ways to be united with others even when frustrated with them and it would be “easier” to be divided, and to always work to manifest optimism in my mindset, words and actions so that any form of oppression doesn’t stand a chance.
Little did I know back then that both of those two sweet, little faces and silly antics of my children would one day take what I taught them about doing the right thing, standing in unity, protecting each other, and living with an optimistic mindset, and go on to earn what is never given, the title of United States Marine.
Another reminder and full-circle of 9/11 came into full focus a few weeks ago when my son called and said “You won’t be hearing from me for nine days and I can’t tell you where I’ll be.” Four days later Marines were at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. I swear I didn’t breathe until I got the call from my son that he was back safe and sound. A handful of days later 13 Service Members (11 Marines) were killed by an attack. I felt an unexplainable close connection to my fellow military families and especially the moms. I continue to cry and grieve for our Gold Star families. I also felt overwhelming waves of emotions for my Veteran friends and colleagues, especially those who served post 9/11 and struggle with the price they paid and the 20 year later outcome not matching their vision. They fought so future generations, like my kids, wouldn’t have to. And my kids fight so future generations, won’t have to. That is the spirit that connects us from people to people and generation to generation and is what keeps Freedom alive.
For me, 9/11 reminds me that at our best:
- Americans Are People Who Do the Right Thing
- We Stand in Unity & Speak Out Against Division
- We Foster Optimism & Fight Oppression
Thank you to all who work diligently to stay connected and fight the good fight. It’s a life worth living. It’s a legacy that matters.
If you are struggling with your experiences of 9/11, you are not alone, connect with a friend, reach out to me, call a crisis line (see below) but do not face it alone. It is right to get support. We are in this together. There is always a hope.