Eleven years ago today our country witnessed it's most tragic moment. It suffered the most heinous crime. And then it steeled itself to rebuild and never let it happen again. Our history is full of those "do you remember where you were" moments. When JFK was assassinated. When the Challenger blew up. Eleven years ago, we gained another.
I remember exactly where I was. I was in my apartment watching the "Today" show and Matt Lauer interrupted his story to tell us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I called my Dad to tell him to look out the window (our house in New Jersey had a view of the New York City skyline) and tell me if he could see anything. He said he could see some smoke and at that moment, we assumed it was just a small plane that took a fatal turn. How wrong we were.
I remember going to work because I really wasn't sure of what else to do. Everyone was glued to the television and their cell phones. I turned around and went home. A guy I was dating chose that day, that moment, to call and tell me he had met someone else and couldn't see me anymore. Maybe he thought that was good news compared to what was going on in the world.
Growing up in New Jersey in the shadow of New York City, the Twin Towers were a constant presence in my life. We could see them from our house. We passed so very close to them every time we drove into "The City." They were just...there. And we took it for granted that they always would be. It's still hard to drive up the New Jersey Turnpike and see a skyline without them.
For my little town of Watchung, NJ, the degree of separation to those lost in the towers was one. A boy, a man, I grew up with was in one of the towers. He came from the nicest family. He was the best guy. Everyone who knew him, loved him. He touched so many lives and he continues to do so.
On this day, take a moment to reflect. Even if a quiet one. Hug your loved ones. Reach out to friends and family. But most of all, carry on.