On September 11, 2001 I was a super happy six-years-old kindergartner that had no idea her world was about to change forever. My father was in Paris on business and about the time the first tower was hit he entered his hotel lobby that was full of patrons staring at television screens with subtitles only in French. My father recognized the burning tower in New York City and felt a fear he had never felt before as a U.S. citizen. As information was gathered he soon realized his very own country was under attack while he was another world away from his family. He called my mother and told her to stay at home and keep me safe. My mother cranked up her superhero powers as we went through our day without incident or sudden change, just as mom's do when the pressure's on to alleviate any worries or fears their children might face.
Funny... I don't remember that day being any different than any other day in the life of a six-year-old. I wasn't expected to understand hate, war, or terrorism. I only knew love, friends, and peace. As I've grown up I now see the remains of this awful day and how it has affected so many lives in so many different ways.
I visited NYC a few weeks ago and took a day to attend the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I was touched by every aspect of this dreadful day and as I ran my hands across the concrete that was left behind I could only feel the cold and empty hole it has left in our country. Many heroes lost their lives saving those that never had a chance. I think most about the decisions that were made that day by everyone affected. The business man who made a choice to stay home from work to have a daddy-daughter day breathes a sigh of relief that his life was sparred. Then there is the maintenance man who went in on his day off to make extra money for his family and as a result he will never see them again. I also think about how extended the grief is for each soul that perished and how small our world really is. Every life lost was a story....
Those that did not survive 9/11 have proven that each of us makes a difference. We might not have known their story had they not have died that tragic day. Like I said, I have no recollection of that tragic day but I do see more clearly how each of us are heroes and how our bravery extends beyond saving a life. As we live our life we have the choice to mentor others, be a positive example that brings more good than evil to this country we call home.
I'm a teenager that wants the best for my future and for the generations behind me. Some might say I'm crazy to spread kindness and confidence to my peers. Many will never know my story but many will make a difference because of the lives i touch through my passion. As you pay tribute to those who lost their lives from this tragic day on September 11, 2001, think of how you write the chapters of your life story and the choices you make each day.