A Day To Not Forget
A Lot Of Things
Twelve years ago today I was walking around the track at the base gym on Offutt AFB in Nebraska with my friend Beth. As we passed the large screen TV's we see a building on fire and wondered what was going on - we continued to walk and as we neared the TV's again we stopped to watch as the second plane hit the next tower and someone on the treadmill told us what was going on. Beth and I immediately left the gym, I went to the commissary on base as I needed milk and there was NO ONE there - seemed strange for a store that was always busy. As I'm walking back to get milk, a worker came running through the store saying that the Pentagon had been hit and there was still another plane out there they couldn't find.
A panic ran through my body, I wanted to go and get my children out of school and I wanted to talk to my husband who was in a remote location on an exercise and I hadn't seen or spoken to him for days already and I just wanted to hear his voice. I knew their AF mission had just changed from an exercise to real life situation and I was just hoping that I'd get a call to let me know he was fine. They allowed them to call family briefly and he assured me he was fine but wasn't sure when he'd be home.
I got home, immediately turned on the TV and sat there in shock as the footage of the Pentagon was on, they were split screen and showing footage of people outside the towers and then the news came over about United Flt. 93. I sat there paralyzed almost as I watched in disbelief and just sad at what was happening. I called my parents who at the time were living in Germany and luckily got to chat with my dad. I think I sat in my gym clothes the rest of the day watching the TV. Seeing the horror of people jumping to their death and I just remember praying a lot that people were able to get out and that the death toll would be minimal. I had to leave and get my children from school and I hated to leave the TV but again wanted my babies and wanted to hug them and just be with them.
I remember thinking this day will forever change our Nation. I remember seeing the flags flying everywhere (which on a base wasn't unusual). I remember hoping that that feeling of being UNITED would last and change people. I think it did for many. However, I think we get caught up in the day to day busy-ness of life and we tend to fall back into our usual way of living.
I think today is important to remember and never forget this tragic day in our Nations history, but I also think it's important that DAILY we're reminded that it doesn't take much to smile as you pass someone, extend a simple 'hello' how are you today?, open the door for the person behind you, or to put your flag outside because you are proud to be an American and not just because it's a day to remember a national tragedy. It's about human kindness. It's about taking our eyes off ourselves and seeing others. It's about being the person God intended us to be and to show compassion, gentleness and grace to others.
So on this day, I hope you'll not only remember those fallen and hope and pray that nothing like this ever happens again in our Nation but also to SMILE, say hello as you pass someone by, hold a door open for the person behind you and remember that we're only here for a limited time and it's so much more enjoyable when we take our eyes off ourselves and see others in our day to day lives and extend a small gesture that could be the one thing they might need that day!