The days leading up to September 11 always seem to make me slow down a bit. I listen more when people speak to me. I stop to "smell the roses" a bit more through out the day. I think about all my loved ones near and far that I am lucky to have in my life. For the past 12 years, when I wake up on the morning of September 11, I have this automatic urge to call, text, email, or Facebook my family and close friends for no other reason, but to say HI, let them know I am thinking about them or to tell them I love them. I think about that preschool room in Hoboken that I was standing in when another teacher came in to tell us what was happening. I remember the look on the parents faces as they came in to bring their children home and hold them close and pray that their significant other, friends and family a short ferry ride away were safe. I remember the phone calls I received from my mom and dad to tell me my brother was OK, but they were still checking on other friends and family of friends. I remember staring into the skyline in my review mirror numb and confused. And then I also remember the days, months, and years after. The renewed pride of being an American. The way communities came together. regardless of politics, race, religion, and personal differences.
Last year, I remember feeling a little lost at first on how I was going to "remember." It was our first year out of New Jersey and living in Charleston, South Carolina. Usually, my husband and I would go to a near by outlook and silently look over at the forever changed skyline or visit a memorial or attend a special service at a memorial. Then my husband found the Heroes Run in Charleston. As we listened to the opening ceremonies and he ran that day, I felt like we found that place to remember. This year was made even more symbolic as a group of Gaia Fit boot campers ran the Heroes Run together. In reflection on the day, I realized how different each person was that ran that race. They all ran for difference reasons and have different running backgrounds and goals. But before, during and after the Heroes Run there was amazing support shown for each other. There was community regardless of differences.
Take some time to slow down, give a smile to a stranger, hug a loved one, listen, and love.
Let's remember and Never Forget.