Anniversaries are weird.

As a kid, an anniversary was that one meal/night/weekend your parents never allowed you to spend with them, and that made sense. Like a birthday, you had one of these a year marking a specific event.

Then you got older. Friends in high school talked about the "one-month anniversary" of their first date/kiss/whatever, and ushered in the era of those other date remembrances. It seemed like everyone was having an anniversary of something every other day. I'm sure I jumped on that bandwagon, too, I just don't remember any of those dates anymore!

Then comes the first "bad" anniversary -- the breakup, the divorce, and eventually, the anniversary of a death. It's hard to use a word associated with celebrations with those sorts of events. The point is to mark them, I suppose, more than celebrate -- maybe to remember happy times, or how things have changed. And somewhere in your mind is the question, "Does this ever get easier?"

I've been a mess for a few days coming up to this weekend. I didn't know why - there's a lot going on and I've been not feeling or sleeping well, so maybe that's it. But all the 9/11 memories have kept me on the verge of tears -- okay, actually IN tears -- every few hours. It's been fun for the fam, I'm sure.

I didn't lose anyone personally in the attacks on September 11. Friends of friends and work associates were affected, and that was close enough. Like most of the country, the thought of "HERE?" made it unbearable. The changes to daily life -- layers of security, suspicion, assumptions based on nationality -- serve as constant reminders that life as we knew it will never come back. Our children and grandchildren will never experience life in America any other way.

Like everyone else, I remember where I was: driving to work, Ron Chapman on KVIL saying something about a plane hitting a tower, then Kristi Scales saying a second plane hit..."This wasn't an accident." Going to work in downtown Fort Worth and not having the slightest clue what to do next. I remember trying to have a call with clients in Phoenix before we all gave it up as a complete waste of time.

More than anything else, I think about the families who lost loved ones that day--mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children whose parents didn't come home. It's true that they will forever remember 9/11, but I can't help but hope they will remember 9/10 just as clearly. On that day, maybe they were just having a normal day, doing normal things. I'd like to think that they can remember that day with joy -- conversations, activities, doing nothing special. For those on the planes, the mundane activities of packing and checking schedules, taking a few minutes to be together because they were going to be apart for a while. Maybe a parent going to a child's ball game or practice. Maybe going to dinner with friends, or just running errands on a Monday. For those families whose lives have never and will never be the same, my heart hurts, and I hope that these TV specials and the constant coverage doesn't make it harder.

I can't make September 11 political; that's for others to do. I can't make it about personal loss; that's disrespectful to those who knew someone personally who died. But as an American, as a human being, I can make September 11 a moment to reflect on what this country means to me, and to thank those who stand as the first line of protection for me and my family. To every service man and woman: Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice everything to keep us safe. To every police officer and firefighter: Thank you for your bravery, putting yourself between my family and that which would do us harm. YOU are the heroes, not the politicians. YOU are why we sleep soundly at night, and YOU deserve every thank you we can give.

You have mine.


  1. This is excellent, extremely well-written, and hits all the nails right on the head. I love you!!

  2. You have brought plenty of tears to this veteran. I also did not lose a family member of personal friend but plenty of God's brothers and sisters. I have, in my lifetime, been a volunteer firefighter, policeman, and veteran, BUT, it was for the USA. Thank you for your remarks.


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