"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What I Remember

I will never forget 9/11/2001, nor will anyone else who lived through it. But I choose not to remember it for the fear, the pain, the horror and the anger that dominated the emotions of the day and remain so predominant 15 years later. I choose not to remember it for the deaths of friends, family, and shipmates. Nor for the destruction and devastation to our way of life. I choose not to remember it for the loss of our freedoms, or the violation of our prior sense of safety.  

Yes, all of those feelings, emotions, and memories remain and are still strong today.

But what I choose to remember 9/11 for are the acts of heroism and selflessness – aboard Flight 93, at the Pentagon, in New York and across the nation. For the sense of unity, community and togetherness that emerged from the wreckage. I choose to remember 9/11 for the resolve of a nation, our determination to recover and our dedication to rebuilding. Not just rebuilding the Pentagon or in New York, but rebuilding our communities, our neighborhoods, our society, our economy, and our security.

I will never forget how neighbors became friends, communities bonded, and the American spirit became stronger. Remembering seeing the American flag on every porch still brings tears to my eyes.  
I was in the Navy Reserve then, and had just started on what was initially supposed to be my annual two weeks of active duty. Enroute to the Navy installation at Anacostia, I listened in confusion to the bizarre radio reports of a plane hitting the first of the towers of the World Trade Center. Shortly afterward, I found myself on lockdown at the base, and then ultimately, at the Pentagon.
Military members have always had an intense esprit de corps, but that day in particular I saw a coming together in brotherhood and purpose beyond that which I had only previously seen in war zones.
I am proud to be an American, I am proud to have served, and ...
I will never forget.