Last Thursday I had foot surgery to remove a calcium deposit that tore a tendon. My post-op has been uneventful. Though my foot is in a cast, I’m resting comfortably—yet the timing is striking. Exactly seventeen years ago today, my youngest daughter was preparing for her own ankle surgery which would be performed in the same medical facility.
It was September 11, 2001. As my daughter and I sat in the doctor’s office waiting room for her pre-op visit, we chatted, barely noticing the background hum of a morning news program playing on the wall mounted television. Suddenly, shortly before 9:00 a.m., our attention was captured with the unbelievable breaking news that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City. As the horrific story unfolded, doctors, nurses and patients jockeyed to get a view of the TV monitors and make sense of what was being reported.
Following the appointment and still in disbelief, we stopped for coffee. While there, the Pentagon was hit. I remember someone saying, “World War III is starting.” We sat, stunned. When we arrived home, the questions emerged. What was happening in our country? In the world? My daughter asked, “What does this mean? Will life go on as we know it? Will we have a future?” There were so many questions that day, and in the days and months that followed.
Seventeen years have passed since the tragic loss of so many lives and a shared American innocence. Questions persist, but our lives have indeed gone on. We have experienced our own joys, tragedies and life challenges. We have lost family members, gained new ones through marriage and birth, experienced our own joys, tragedies and life challenges.
Yes, life goes on, but with a greater appreciation in remembering the events of September 11, 2011. We came together. Bonds were forged. Heroes emerged. Stories were told. Today, we remember some of our country’s darkest hours. In doing so, we create opportunities to listen to, learn from, and instruct one another. It is through this remembering that our collective resilience is strengthened, and America endures.