I wrote this as the op-ed in 2009 for the bi-weekly neighborhood newsletter I used to edit (I live in a very Mormon neighborhood, just FYI). I've updated it so it will be relevant to us in 2013, as I did in 2012:
Twelve years ago, my husband and I -- along with our 6-month old daughter -- vacationed on Lake Powell. We enjoyed three days of sand, sun, water, and isolation with friends and co-workers. We hardly noticed the lack of Internet, television, and cell phone coverage; it was easy to get lost in nature.
The day we left Lake Powell was September 12, 2001. We arrived at the marina to a buzz of concern and fear, and we couldn’t figure out why. Someone told us about the World Trade Center...the terrorists...the Pentagon. At first we scoffed. What? Planes into buildings on purpose? But as we soon found out, it was real.
Very, very real.
The trip home was frantic. We stopped at every gas station along the way to watch the news. We nervously awaited our emergence from Spanish Fork canyon so we could finally call family on our cell phone. Our aunt and uncle lived in Manhattan --luckily, they were fine.
Over the next few days, we were glued to the TV. I remember crying over the death, the destruction, and even the heroism. It was a tough time; the whole country felt it.
We all felt it.
And now, here we are --here I am -- twelve years later. My husband and I have continued our lives, as most of the world has. We’ve had more children, moved from and back to Grandview Hill, and we keep going. My brother has served one tour in Iraq, our aunt and uncle have moved from NYC, and time keeps going...and going...and going.
But we don’t ever forget. I don’t think any of us could forget. As with the attack of Pearl Harbor, 9/11 has reminded us that we are not completely impenetrable, and bad things can happen to good people. However, what I love the most about my memories of 9/11 is what happened in the wake of it. People reached out to other people. A country united together and determined to continue our way of life, without apology for freedom and liberty. We all loved each other a little more, prayed a little more, and served a little more. There was less sarcasm, less frivolity, and less focus on self. This is the beauty of tragedy. As it says in John 16:22
And ye now therefore have sorrow:We will never forget the lives lost, the pain, and the anguish, but let us also remember the good that has come from our tragedy. As we did then, let us even now love a little more, pray a little more, and serve a little more. Let us rejoice in our freedom and liberty --and never apologize for it.
but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice,
and your joy no man taketh from you.