When I sit and reflect about holidays like today I think of the one event in my life that impacted me the most. While there has been war and horrible events since then and so many other events before it, 9/11 still holds for me the feeling of fear, unity, a respect. 

I have been alive through other horrific incidents where our military had to go in and I could only watch or listen with a blank stare. But, I will always remember, we will always remember 9/11 because it was that day that America, for the only time I could remember, feared as one, stood as one, prayed as one, fought as one. I remember waking up to the blank look at my mom’s statement, watching the planes on replay fly into the Towers. I thought of my friend Lauren who lived a half hour from NYC, my husband who was traveling with his family in the states, my family who would be called to assist in pegging away the rubble of those towers. I saw men and woman selflessly for days look for survivors.

As a Senior in highschool I remembered sitting on the bleachers of our football field as the entire school – jocks and nerds, cheerleaders and emos, flunkees and valedictorian candidates – took eachother’s hands and had a moment of silence for the families that were directly affected and the men and women in uniform who selflessly and without hesitation put their lives on the line on that day. It was then, the blank stare I had on my face, the blank feeling on my heart was no longer blank. No longer was I just a kid brought up in America. No longer was I just an American. No longer was I taking for granted the freedom that is gifted to me every day. No longer did I not feel utterly patriotic to the flag that symbolizes such freedom. It was that day that I was proud to be an American.

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Today, as I sit with my warm cup of milk and my Scooby snacks, I think of that day and all the men and women we have lost since. I think of the wars we’ve had before that and the lives lost then. I think of the men and women who I have been honored to meet these last 15 years who proudly stand using their uniforms with our flag tattooed on their heart, their selfless love for their country and the people who live here. I think of my family members who have given up their civilian lives to serve this country. And all I can think of is how so very thankful I am for these protectors of our country.

Today, as I gather near the pool with my loved ones to be kissed by the sun and to enjoy the many blessings of my life, I shall not take for granted the freedom of it all. I shall not take for granted the lives lost just so I can share a day with my family and friends. I shall not take for granted the selfless love of our soldiers.

Thank you, thank you for selflessly surrendering your life so I may freely live mine.

If we could love the way heroes love what a better world this would be. xoxo

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