September 11, 2001
When I woke up this morning, I had to decide what I was going to do by way of remembering 9/11 during my newscasts. It was a hard decision to make, and I got a phone call from a friend telling me I made the wrong one.
There isn’t one person in the entire world who lived through that day, or has been born since that day, who hasn’t been affected by the terrorist attacks on America. Those of us who saw it happening on tv will never forget the moment the first tower fell, knowing the second one was probably going to fall as well. I was with my brother in his house when we heard that the Pentagon had been attacked. And that night, I cried into a towel in my bathroom because Ryan told me he wanted to join the military.
Eleven years later, babies who have been born since that day have never known an airplane trip without long security lines at airports, they’ve never met a loved one at the gate as they stepped off a plane, they’ve never known the New York City skyline with the Twin Towers, and the face of Osama bin Laden has always been the face of a terrorist who rewrote world history.
I chose not to focus too much on the anniversary of 9/11 in my news this morning not because it’s not important or worthy of focus, but because of something my grandmother told me when I asked her how things were after Pearl Harbor. She said people went about their business pretty quickly. There were masses said for those who died even though El Paso was nowhere near Hawaii, but people knew that they had to get back to their day to day lives. They were at war, and there was work to be done if we wanted our country to survive. “Life is for the living,” she said. I couldn’t understand that at the time as a teenager, but I do now.
We have to pray for those who were lost, give comfort to those who are left behind, but more than anything, we have to keep moving forward. I am in no way comparing myself to the families of those who were lost on 9/11, or to the families of our troops who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when Ryan was in Iraq those three deployments, I got up, took a shower, came to work, and kept moving forward. Not all the time, mind you. There were horrible days when I couldn’t move, but then an email or a phone call would come, and Ryan would tell me, “I need to know you’re at home doing things I’m fighting for you to be able to do.”
So, that’s why I chose to say after reading a story about how President Obama and Vice President Biden would be marking the day, “And just to show that the terrorists didn’t stop anything that day, let’s talk football!” It wasn’t disrespectful – it was hopeful. It would be a great disservice to those we’ve lost because of 9/11, to wail and gnash our teeth. They lived and they are gone. Don’t extinguish the light of their memories with grief. Let that light guide the rest of us, our country, their children and loved ones, for the rest of our days.
I need to know you’re at home doing things I’m fighting for you to be able to do.
They fought well. Let’s honor them by living well.