This was a tough one. Do I write about 9/11? Do I skip it? Do I just post about something else; something completely random? Ultimately it came down to respect. Too many lives are forever changed by those events and it felt wrong to sweep it under the carpet. Even 12 years after the fact.
I was in bed, ignoring my alarm clock (it was still really early in Seattle) when my roommate started pounding on my door, roaring I needed to see the news. Once in the living room I realized there was no morning roommate chit-chat; the only sound was from the tv. I cannot recall if coffee had already been made, or who exactly was present including another roommate who was a fireman, but the images on the tv are forever etched in my head.
I remember madly searching for my phone so I could call my parents. My dad worked in the DC area, travelled often, and they had numerous friends and acquaintances at the Pentagon. When I finally got through to my mom, I found out my dad had flown out that morning, but was safely on the ground and making his way back home with colleagues in a rental car. My aunt and uncle, who had met and worked at the WTC, were attempting to find out about friends and family who worked and lived in NYC. I also found out two of my cousins’ spouses were busy with rescue efforts since they served in the NYPD and NYFD.
At the time I was working at the University of Washington Alumni Association as an event coordinator. In the fall one of my main projects was planning the away games tailgate parties for Husky fans, which meant I travelled a lot. When I finally arrived at work after a very quiet bus ride that morning, we just sat in the conference room and watched everything unfold on tv.
In the following weeks, I remember arriving at airports super early, waiting in really long lines, police and MPs standing vigilantly with their huge guns, and police dogs walking carefully around luggage. I also remember everyone quietly standing in line and if someone was running late to their flight due to the security lines, fellow travelers would let them jump ahead in line. Admittedly this happened to me once and I am still grateful for the 30 or so people who moved aside so I could get through the security line and catch my flight to Seattle (barely made it). While people were still a little scared, they were surprisingly gracious and aware of one another – and that has always stuck with me.
Twelve years. A span of a child going from 1st grade to 12th grade. For me, the past twelve years have included four different jobs, getting married, buying a house, having my two amazing boys, and starting my own business. It’s also been twelve years of watching the resilience of our country and those who serve in the military, the continued courage shown by our first responders, and the courage shown everyday by our fellow citizens.
When the events in Boston happened earlier this year, while there was an amazing amount of courage shown by the first responders, the courage shown by the everyday people who were there struck me more. They jumped right in to help those who were injured. Many opened their homes to those who had no where else to go. The people of Boston – and the nation – came together to help in however they could.
This to me is where I hope we continue to grow. Helping others in need. Showing courage even when we’re scared. Standing up and looking out for one another. And through it all being gracious. I look at my boys and these are the qualities I want them to have as they grow into men. To help. To be brave. To protect. And most important, to be gracious even under the most trying of circumstances. These are tall orders for two small boys. But I have faith that we’ll get there. I won’t – and cannot – give up on these two. And you know why?
I still have faith there will always be more light than dark shadows.
I still have faith there are more courageous people out there ready to help than there are those who wish to cause harm.
I still have faith we can be gracious toward one another.
I still have faith of the good in mankind.