The ringing phone pierced my dreams and pulled me out of a deep sleep. We had worked late through the night and clear into the morning hours building our start-up company. My exhausted body screamed in rebellion as I clumsily reached to silence the ringing. Caiden was only 3 months old so I had only slept in 2 hour increments. I wondered who could be calling so early. It was just before 6 a.m. in the Northwest.
My question was quickly answered when mother’s tense voice came through the phone. “Kayla, I have good news and terrible news,” she said. I tried to wrap my mind around the possibilities of both bits of news, but the weariness fogged my brain so I allowed the quiet to beat out the seconds as I waited to hear why she was calling so early. “Your bother and Yihung just had the baby and everything is fine.” With the good news out of the way I braced myself for the bad news. My mom instructed, “Go turn on your T.V.”
I made my way towards the sound of cartoons in the living room and asked Keegan to change the channel. Just as the image of one of the Twin Towers on fire filled the screen a second plane crashed into the other tower. It was 9:02:57 a.m. in NYC. My mother and I both knew immediately that this was no accident; we had seen the results of terrorism against Americans on overseas military bases for too long to forget the signature of terrorist’s destruction.
All the remnants of sleep were flushed from my mind. We closed the business down for the day and like so many Americans, sat transfixed in front of the T.V. set. Our family was one of the blessed families that gained a family member that day and lost no one. My brother and his wife watched the Pentagon burn from the window of their maternity room.
We all prayed for the families as we tried to grasp the extent of this great loss. Our prayers mingled with the millions of prayers worldwide.
I often think of the early hours of September 11th when life seemed as normal as any other day until hate lashed out against America, on American soil this time. Who could have imaged it as they boarded planes, went to work and lived their everyday lives what the day would hold?
What stays with me 19 years later are the heroes that lost their lives. The heroes that saved lives and the others that carried on after they had lost their loved ones. The resilience of the America people has been shown in the fact that our hearts linger on the lives lost but as a Nation it continues beating. Thousands of lost lives made an irrevocable imprint in world history.
Today – and everyday – let us never forget. The roads of thousands of lives took an unexpected turn on this day 19 years ago. Today we should honor their memories. Their deaths had a ripple effect in the lives of the loved ones left behind. There is more important message today than to take a moment to remember all of their lives.
Let us never forget as individuals, as a country, or as a global community.