This is a bit of a post I did a few years ago, but it still holds true.
It was nine years ago today.
NINE whole years.
The memory fades over time, but is easily restored with words.
... I ran into a bedroom and woke my wife up with the words, "We're under attack."
... I called every number I'd memorized for every loved one I had around the country, just to hear their voice and to keep them out of the cities.
... I drove down a clear 405 during rush hour.
... I suddenly thought that my 10-story office building, 2 miles north of LAX, was too damn tall.
... I rocked my less-than-a-half-year-old baby to sleep for the afternoon, with my arms wrapped around him both as softly and as tightly as I could bear.
... I cried at the sight of children being led by devoted daycare workers through dust-filled streets with shopping carts and laundry bins, praying that their parents could hold them again before nightfall.
... I was a child of Sesame Street, Saturday morning cartoons, and MTV afternoons, and I got numb watching television.
... I decided to never be anywhere without my cell phone.
... I was chilled by the unwitting prophecy of a Tom Clancy novel a few years before.
... I SAW IT. LIVE.
... I grieved, prayed, questioned, and absorbed hours of information in the hopes of answers... with an entire nation.
Whatever your stance on politics, on war, on diplomacy, on religion, on commercialism, on capitalism, on Republicans, on Democrats, on terrorists of any belief, on dictators of any title... even on coaches and sports, we are still one NATION.
Please remember that.
Whether you wave a flag, hold up a picket sign, kneel down to pray, spend a little more money at a restaurant, sing the national anthem a little louder before kickoff, whatever you do today, is up to you.
Me? Each chance I get, I will hold my wife, with the hope I never have to wake her up with such words again.
I will hug my first child, who, I am grateful to say, slept through much of that day.
I will hug my second child, who was born a few years later, into the world after that.
I will remind myself of the importance of teaching my children to be aware of the world around them, to be wary of the cruelty around them, and hope that I can teach them to be strong enough to accept and return the compassion that they are given by others in that very same, conflicting, ever-changing world.
I will say a prayer for all the fathers and mothers who can't hold their children, the children who can't hug their mommies and daddies, the husbands and wives who can't hold each other, and all of those whose embraces have been a little more empty since then.
I will not wonder too long about all that we might have won or lost since that day, but I will continue to hope that our ideals are not so far removed from our actions.
I will hope for the not-so-distant day when the building of a house of worship is never a cause for scandal, and the burning of holy books by a madman is never a negotiation tool.
I will pay my respects, say my prayers, cherish my family... and remember.