Today always brings me a jumble of feelings. I feel a great deal of sadness. I feel sadness for the innocent lives lost on that day, and sadness for their friends and loved ones that will forever have a hole in their hearts and lives left by this senseless act. I feel a sadness for the parents that won't see their children succeed in life, and especially for the children who won't feel the warm and loving embrace of a parent when they need it most. I feel a sadness for the first responders that will forever suffer from the effects of physical exposure to that day, and the flashbacks that surely plague their memories and dreams. I feel sadness for a nation that never dreamed it possible that such an attack could occur on their own soil, and the fears that came along with it.
I feel anger. I feel angry that so many people hate us. I am angry that they could hate us so much that they didn't hesitate to kill thousands of people that were living their own lives, minding their own business, doing what they what they needed to do to take care of their families. I am angry that we never saw it coming, that we were so vulnerable yet arrogant enough to think no one would dare do that to us.
I feel pride. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to live in this country. Yes, we have our problems and social issues. Yes, some of them may have been created by our own doing. I have been fortunate enough to do some traveling, enjoying beautiful foreign landscapes, learning about other cultures and languages, sampling exotic foods, and meeting interesting people not unlike myself in many ways. Still I come home from my travels knowing that this country offers opportunities and experiences that many others don't.
I feel hope. I hope that we can all reflect upon the significance and solemnity of this day. I hope that we can somehow come together in the future instead of becoming more divided. I hope that we can see the commonalities in each other but also appreciate the differences because we all have gifts to contribute to this world. I hope we can start to embody the UNITED part of being the United States of America. This country can be as great as we want it to be if we work TOGETHER.
No matter what you do on this day, no matter what happens on any day.......just make this day count!