I’ve never been to New York, never witnessed the size and scale of those magnificent towers. But that didn’t matter on September 11th, 2001. We were all New Yorkers on that day as our hearts were heavy, watching our nation come under attack. I want to focus this blog less on the day and more on the days that followed.
Before I get to that, allow me to share my story. I was a young 22 year old, working for a country station in Boise, Idaho. I did the night show, so I got off work at Midnight the night before and typically slept til about 10am. My buddy was the morning show stunt man and he would often wake me up to go out and do crazy stunts with him during the morning show. So I thought that was the reason he was calling my phone at that early hour on September 11th. I answered and heard the sense of urgency on his voice. He said “Are you watching TV?” I said “No, but I can…what channel?”
His response gives me chills to this day. He said “It doesn’t matter.” I quickly turned on the tv and saw smoke billowing from the first tower. Shortly thereafter I witnessed another plane hit the second tower on live TV. It became immediately apparent that our nation was under attack. I rushed to the station to do whatever I could to help.
We setup a “Firefighter Fund” and in the days and weeks that followed, travelled out to communities raising money for the first responders and their families affected by this tragedy. The thing I remember most about those days that followed the attacks was the kindness. People were speaking to each other with a softer tone, a general kindness that was not nearly as prominent on September 10th. Neighbors helping neighbors.
I remember flags on a majority of houses. In fact, I remember how difficult it was to find a store that had any American flags in stock several days after the attacks. Fast forward 18 years, our country seems to be more divided than ever. Political debates and difference of opinions causing a rift between neighbors.
While none of us who were around will ever forget September 11, 2001, I challenge all of us to remember September 12th and the days that followed. For a time, random acts of kindness were everywhere and we treated strangers with respect and kindness. Americans lined up to give blood, assist in sorting through “the pile” or help in any way they could. We were also filled with patriotism, proud of our flag and displayed it prominently. The best the we can do to honor those 3,000+ souls that perished in those attacks and their families that still mourn their loss is rekindle that spirit of September 12th. Do something kind for a stranger, raise that American flag with pride. Our nation is not perfect, but we can make it a better place to live by honoring those victims with love for our neighbors and our country.
God Bless America