Recently, I had the deep privilege and opportunity to attend the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City. What an incredible experience. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened fifteen years ago. I was twelve years old, but I’ll never forget where I was, what I was doing, and the faces of those around me as the events started to unfold that morning. I’m not a New Yorker, and I didn’t lose anyone close to me that day, but as I stand here at Ground Zero for the first time, fifteen years to the day, I’m a well of emotion. I feel honored to see where these towers stood and stand by those who lost loved ones. Some are embracing one another, some are placing their hands on the memorial and touching the names of those they lost, and some are lying down on their backs simply gazing into a void where the towers stood. Everyone chose their own way to remember that day. Each way was significant. And I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud to be an American than in that moment.
It’s so much more real to me now. The collective wound our country experienced that morning is still healing, but as the sun rises, I look up and see One World Trade Center reaching 1,776 feet into the sky and I’m reminded of what this country represents: strength, freedom, and the ability of overcome.
If you have time to visit New York City, make sure you visit both the 9/11 Memorial and its museum. Both venues are somber reminders of the events from that day. They make you appreciate life so much more… and help you to never forget.