In honor of the lives that were lost in 9/11 and in honor of their family members. It is a tragic loss to have lost lives to this senseless act of violence.
In honor of all the victims who were injured and suffering from this senseless act of violence.
In honor of the emergency personnel and people who helped those who were injured.
In honor of all those emergency personnel who gave their lives to help others.
In honor of the service men and women who have protected us and fought for our freedom. In honor of those that protect us now.
In honor of kindness. In honor of integrity. In honor of hope. In honor of grief. In honor of those with broken hearts who lend their last bandage to mend the broken hearts of others.
In honor of America.
In honor of peace.
God bless and good be.
I had a vivid dream last night of my mother telling stories. I was sitting near her, almost on her lap I was so close. I could smell her breath; I could light her cigarette. She was right there. She was wearing her favorite sweatshirt — her Snoopy Kelly green Christmas sweatshirt. She was laughing. She was alive.
Then I had to do something in my dream (I had lost my car keys and needed to get them). When I came back she was gone. I was ready for more stories. There was noone in the lobby of the hotel. Only empty chairs.
My mother was a fabulous story teller. Brew a pot of coffee, grab some smokes and you had entertainment. but beware, there was chain-smoking involved.
I woke this morning next to my three year old son who climbed into our bed last night, out of his firetruck bed that is pushed up against ours.
He was sound asleep. My husband was in the living room enjoying some quiet time before he got ready for work.
I lay there, realizing the dream was a dream. My mother was gone, like in the dream, like in my life.
This feeling, this realization reminded me of another sense of grief — 9/11.
I walked barefoot to the living room across the wood floors. I cuddled with my husband and told him about my dream. I sobbed. I wept. I emptied out buckets of sorrow. My tears were not only for my mother, but also for the families that woke like me — realizing 9/11 was not a dream. It is a reality they have lived for 12 years.
My son grabbed his American flag off the kitchen table, holding it in his hand after he ate blueberry pancakes my husband made. I did not prompt him. He is three.
He wanted to take it to school today, along with a photo of his father. I took the photo at the Lincoln Monument when we were in DC for my mother’s funeral this summer at Arlington National Cemetery.
The National Monument is behind my husband and son in the distance. My son thinks it is a rocket ship.
After we dropped my husband off at work, my son was crying — he did not want to go to school.
So we walked around the exercise track at the hospital park. At 8:15 it was cool. It was calm.
A woman with headphones on said, “Good Morning” to us as she speedwalked past us. My son waved.
He left his flag in the car and brought the photo of his dad and him.
An African-American man dressed in a blue collar bib overalls stopped us on the track and said, ‘What you are doing is real good. I did the same thing with my son and he is an athlete now.”
Ben and I smiled and waved at the man.
Kindness is usually a surprise. It can not be prescribed and given out like lemonade for a quarter. It is priceless and comes to us through strangers, through friends, through loved ones, through prayer.
Through moments we don’t expect.
Ben said he was hungry so we stopped for apples at McDonald’s. He brought his flag inside. The cashier said they were out of apples. Ben said, “Please.” I complimented his manners. I ordered a yogurt parfait. He put his flag on the table. An older woman with a fedora sat at a table up against the wall to my right.
I recognized this moment at McDonald’s of all places. The news was on mute. I saw the governor of New Jersey and New York. There was a little girl, who must have been a baby or perhaps not even born when her father died. A woman stood next to her. The news was muted. All I could hear was the lack of correct grammar of the not so gentlemen who sat in the next booth over.
America is everywhere in America. And today we remember the people who died on that tragic day.
I was proud of my son. I was proud to be an American. I was proud to be kind.