Like everyone else old enough to remember September 11, 2001; I will never forget that day. The tears I cried with my fellow classmates as we watched the horrible images on TV, and the unusual fear I felt as an American. But, just as we will never forget that day, my hope is that we never forget September 12, 2001, either.
On September 11th, 2001, we laid our heads down with immense grief, broken and afraid. To this day we mourn the loss of those lives. But, on September 12th, 2001 we woke up to streets across America lined with our American flag. We heard Lee Greenwood’s famous “God bless the USA” and legit got gooseys from the words -every time it played. We woke up with a spirit of living for those that were no longer able to. We woke up more American than we were when we laid down; perhaps even more American than any other time in our history.

You see, in my humble opinion, today marks a day of American citizens rising up to help, to serve, and to protect our country. Race, religion, gender, orientation were all obsolete. That day, and even in the months to come, we were all red, white, & blue; we were all American. And, we were angry that someone could hurt us the way we’d all been hurt. But, like any good American would do, we took our pain and turned it into something beautiful. We lived up to our nations name. We truly were the United States of America.

I started this blog to help myself heal from the pain of mine and my husbands losses; in hopes that someone else could find healing through my words. Just as the images from 9/11/2001 will ever be etched in my memory; so will the images of the days we lost our babies, forever be with me. But, it’s not the fall that defines us, it’s how we rise after the fall. To take our ashes and trade them for beauty. To rise above our grief and do something good, because of it.

I started this post to write down thoughts that have resurfaced every September 12th since 2001; remembrance of what it felt like to live in a nation of unity, in hopes that someday my daughter can feel that same feeling; without it taking tragic events like September 11, 2001 occurring again to regenerate the ‘United’ back into our states. But really, with higher hopes that someday I’ll live in a country that can live up to its name, again. Looking beyond skin color, gender, politics, and realizing we are all on the same team; despite our differences.

So, I pray that today and every day thereafter, you choose to live for those who lost their chance to. You choose love – even for those you may not like. You keep scrolling if you see something that “offends” you. And more than anything, you choose to see the good in everything. Because, there is always, always, always, something good, even when the bad tries to outweigh it.

Choose beauty for your ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.