Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why I Can Never Let Myself Forget 9/11

I made the mistake a couple of years ago of saying that we, as a country, should just move forward and focus on how we can change for the better on the anniversary of 9/11 instead of just stopping and remembering the tragedies every year. To those of you who lost family and friends on that fateful day, I am sorry.

I just got back from a funfilled, whirlwind trip to NYC with my sister and our daughters. I hadn't actually visited the city since my first time 26 years ago. I had driven through it in 2007 and saw ground zero as we passed by, but that was it. We decided to get tickets to go up into One World Trade Center and view the city from 101 stories up.

We arrived there on Sunday morning, and visibility from the observatory was zero. We decided to come back at 4 pm that same day. We got there about 45 minutes early, so we went to the 9/11 memorial sites and saw the tower pools... the pools they built in the footprints of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center.

The names of those who died that day are written around the pool of the building they were in when they died. The event of 9/11 that happened at the World Trade Center suddenly became less of an event and more of an individual story to me. I realized that to the family member or friend of every person represented there, that name wasn't synonymous with an event as much as it was an entire story of a beautiful life wrapped up in an engraving on a memorial.

As I took a moment of silence, I also took in the enormity of what I was seeing. I told my sister that every person represented there was important... no less important than the person who's name was written beside it. I fully realized the importance of the reading of every single name at each anniversary of 9/11. I realized that this country can never forget what happened on that day. Composing myself was hard.

As I walked around the North Tower memorial, I saw an American flag sticking out of one of the engravings. The name was Philip Haentzler. To the loved ones of Philip, I know that he was more than just a name. I know that he was more than just a part of an event or tragedy. I know he was important.

I will never look at 9/11 the same way again.

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