Words according to Dakota, SHE II, and Raven Vanguard’s third member, also known as Sloth
There is so much that could be written about the gravity of this week and the somber tone that comes along with it, year after year since 2001. All of our lives were forever changed on September 11th, even mine as a 5-year-old kid. We all know someone who worked within blocks, lived in the area, volunteered, saved lives, lost their life, knew someone who lost a loved one. We were all affected, as we watched the horrific footage on the televisions in our offices, living rooms, classrooms, gas stations, bars. We heard it on the radio. We saw it in the reflection of our parents crying, the look of horror on our teachers faces, our friends in shock and scared. I’ll never forget that day and the impact it had on me as a child. Sure, I may have only been 5, but I saw the way it affected my mom, as she watched the TV and called my dad over and over to make sure he was okay. He was flying for business that day, a simple thing he always did, yet everything was different.
Remembrance. The most important aspect of that day. Not necessarily remembering the act, but the people. Honoring the lives lost. Honoring the grieving loved ones. Honoring the rescue teams. Listening to their stories. We all lost our sense of safety and security that day, but many, too many, people lost so much more than that. Husbands, wives, partners, daughters, sons, family, loved ones.
As a child, I was concerned for my mom. I did not see the full perspective. I could not grasp what was happening and how many would be deeply changed by this. As I grow older, it chills my bones to think that in an instant, everything changed. Reading the words of those who called their loved ones while on the planes, hearing the stories of those who ran into the towers as they began to crumble to save whoever they could, seeing the imagery of those, who were at one point walking down the street, running covered in ash and rubble. It is beyond scary to think that our whole entire world can change instantaneously. As individuals and as a whole.
On that note, I try to remind myself of why I should be thankful every day. You never know in what moment everything could change. In remembrance of those who were lost through tragedy, I try practice thankfulness and appreciation. For living, for breathing. For my family, my friends, my significant other, the people who stand by my side and support me, my craft, my opportunities, the roof over my head, the food on my table. I try to remind myself that striving to find happiness in every day that I have is of utmost importance. To change what I can that provides me with discontent, to work towards what I love. I also try to appreciate moments. The little ones. To not lose myself in the overwhelming bigger picture, to not get caught up in my stressors to the point where I cannot take a moment to feel a breeze. Truly feel it and embrace the happiness autumn brings. Close my eyes and enjoy a sip of a hot latte. Clean sheets. Light streaming in through the windows. The presence of the person that makes me feel so loved. These moments are the ones we should try to summon and remember for the sake of appreciating life. Even when things may be going to shit.
For the sake of those who lost their lives, gave their lives protecting others, lost loved ones, are surrounded in grief. Honor them by appreciating the time you have and remembering that they deserved more. Deserved longer lives. To grow old with their families. They deserved to have what we all are lucky to have. Life.
In text this short, I find that I’ll never truly be able to do them all the justice and words they deserve, especially having not been older at the time of September 11th, 2001, and not truly grasping what had happened until I grew older, but I hoped to express how I miss the people who died, and how I choose to honor them. By reading their stories, the stories of their families, knowing their hurt and pain, and doing my best to never take for granted the life that I have. And maybe that is not the right response, but that is how I cope with things that are unbearably hard to comprehend and deeply saddening.
Hug those you love, tell them that you love them, be present in the moment. Love yourself, love your life and the ability to breathe in the air. We never know what can happen, and it is always best to walk forward with gratitude and love in your heart.