It has been eight years.
It's amazing, really, how a nation can change in eight years. And at the same time, how not much can change at all.
I remember clearly that day. Marty and I both had the day off of work, and he had come over and we were hanging out when someone called him. Turn on the TV, something is happening. We turned it on and every channel was filled with the same images. The first plane had crashed, and I remember the feeling of horror at the situation, but still not even having brushed the surface of anything remotely close to the truth.
How can someone accidentally crash a plane into a building? Did the pilot have a heart attack? What's going on?
Then, the second plane hit, and news of the pentagon hit and one more missing plane, and it became clear it was no accident.
It is amazing to me how quickly denial came. There was no way anyone could deliberately do something like this, right? This was a dream. Or a hoax. Or something other than the horror that was filling my TV.
We remained glued to the TV all day, watching again and again the video of the towers collapsing. Hearing the witnesses that talked of people jumping, and the repeated thumps of bodies landing, after deciding that a quick end was better than death by fire.
The nation mourned for a week. Everywhere you went was solemn, people were quiet and reflective. There was no laughter, it seemed out of place. Hushed tones filled the entire country as we held the world's largest funeral. I have never experienced anything like it, and I don't want to ever again.
I remember the weeks of news stories of people searching through the rubble. We were in shock to find out details, as Osama Bin Laden became a household name. We celebrated as the rescuers found people alive, and marveled at the miracle of it all. God showed himself amongst the horror, and gave us hope.
It has been eight years. We can choose to remember the feelings of horror, and how out of that came the hope and the promise of a country united. We can remember the patriotism, and how the nation really came together. People were nicer. Small Town USA was everywhere. We suddenly remembered what mattered most, what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was really about.
Here, eight years later, are we truly remembering everything that fateful day brought about? Do we still feel that same patriotism on a daily basis? Are we remembering what matters most?
I hope so. And I hope to remember, every day, that we are living in the greatest country on earth. And I hope to never forget the lives that were lost on that day, or the lives that have been lost in this battle since. Every life makes an impact, and every life matters.
Thank you to our military that fight for our freedom on a daily basis. We as a nation are nothing without you. You are real-life super-heroes, and I am in awe at your dedication to preserving the land that I love.
And I will never forget.