When my daughter asked if she could interview me about where I was on September, 11, 2001, I didn’t hesitate with my answers. Like the rest of the country, I remember in vivid detail where I was when I heard a rogue plane had flown into the World Trade Center.
My grandfather had died just days before, and I was sleeping on an air mattress at my grandma’s house when an aunt rushed in the front door, imploring us to turn on the television. I remember exactly how I felt, watching the second plane, careen into the South Tower on live TV. I so vividly remember the pause — the disbelief, the horror — of the news anchor, clamoring for words while the world realized we were under attack.
I can still feel the hot tears on my cheeks as the towers fell, thinking of the thousands of people trapped inside, waiting for a rescue that wouldn’t come. Twenty years later, I can still hear the recordings of the phone calls from UA93 with messages of love and hope, sadness and resolve.
Our military community remembers with painstaking detail the moments, hours, days and weeks that followed – the start of 20 years of war. Our operational tempo hasn’t slowed since, and while we may be weary, our commitment to service hasn’t faltered.
We all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news of a terrorist attack on that beautiful, clear Tuesday morning in September.
But what I can’t remember is the night before. I don’t remember September 10, 2001. Who I called. What I said. How I spoke to or treated the people I love the most. I can’t remember how I felt that night, or how I made others feel. While the rest of the world will remember 9/11 – as we all should – I seem to always spend more time reflecting about 9/10.
I’ll spend today and tonight in deep reflection — hoping the mommies made time for one more story and the daddies had patience for one more hug … hoping couples kissed goodbye on their way out the door, instead of leaving in anger … children too busy to call their parents made time … and those harboring hatred in their hearts found forgiveness. And for those who didn’t or couldn’t, I’ll pray they find their peace.
Today, I think of the hundreds of people who packed suitcases, briefcases, even diaper bags thinking “tomorrow” would be just another day. Today, I’ll spend a little extra time practicing gratitude, being intentional with my children and offering more words of support, understanding, tenderness and empathy. I hope you’ll join me.
In a time of such great divisiveness of our country, let us take today to remember that we are better United. We are stronger as humans, as brothers and sisters, and as Americans, when we can find tolerance, kindness, mercy and love.
Let the heroes of 9/11 — and their unfinished stories on 9/10 — remind us that tomorrow is never “just another day.”
Tessa Robinson serves as Executive Editor for We Are The Mighty and she loves showcasing military spouse and veteran voices. Email her at email@example.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.