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Never Forget
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I’ll never forget September 11, 2001. Not because it was my birthday and my family had planned a fun party for me. But because that’s the day they say our world changed forever.

My husband had gotten up early that morning and turned on the TV to catch the morning news. He watched in horror as a plane deliberately flew into the second tower of the World Trade Center. He came into our bedroom and gently shook me. “Honey,” he said, “I think you need to come see this.”

I sat on the couch with him and watched in shock and disbelief as the towers fell. Peace, as we all had known it, was gone. I cancelled my party—who could celebrate? I spent the rest of that day grieving for the thousands of lives that were lost—and for those who had lost them—the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and children; the families that would never be the same again. And I held our seven-year-old daughter close and tried to explain what had just happened to her world.

My friend, Rosa, lived in New York at the time, and was actually on a subway when the attack happened. She had no idea what was going on until she came up and saw the horrendous sight. She worked her way through the rubble and dust and finally made it home at ten that night. The next morning she realized that the attack had affected many families around her.

An acquaintance’s husband was missing. He was a rookie firefighter and had just finished his shift. He was about to take a two-week paternity leave to celebrate the birth of their second child. But he called his wife from the station and told her that something was going on, and he was going to stay and see if his help was needed. She never heard from him again.

Colleagues Died

Just two weeks before, a neighbor had retired from a firm located in one of the towers. All 800 of his colleagues died.

Another friend lost her mother and aunt.

Rosa worked as an OB/GYN nurse downtown. Many patients died, as well as many patients’ husbands.

“Our lives were changed forever,” she told me.

One thing that I remember well about 9/11 is how we all came together. Like Rosa, many families huddled together, giving extra hugs and “I love yous.” Cities came together, holding candlelight and prayer vigils. And our country came together. Suddenly it didn’t matter whether you were a Democrat or a Republican. You were an American.

I’m wondering today, on this 12th anniversary, if we remember what we promised ourselves that day—that we would never forget.

Rosa hasn’t. She told me recently, “Every day I tell my family how much I love them. I never know when it might be the last time.”

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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