In 2001, the event was so unexpected and intense that part of me was in shock and (perhaps) unable or not ready to fully process what was going on. I didn't really know how to react - I couldn't fathom that something so cruel and tragic could even happen.
Today, the emotional toll of 9-11 felt greater to me. I think it's because we've been reflecting on the cumulative impact of the day after 10 years of grief and recovery. Perhaps time has allowed us to feel more comfortable acknowledging the impact of the day, sharing our stories, and honoring the lives that were lost.
On Friday, I watched an interview on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and 5 children who each lost a parent that day. It was incredible to see their strength and how much they've grown, despite having to live each day without one of their parents.
This morning, I met my friend Sarah at the beach in Edmonds. It was the most beautiful day. Everyone at the park greeted each other with a smile and a hello. I felt surrounded with happiness. There was a powerful sense of community and American pride that reminded me very much of the months that followed 9-11.
While I was in Edmonds, children, parents, and relatives shared their words about their loved ones at the New York City Memorial. One boy was in his mother's womb when his dad passed away. He remarked: "I love you for loving the idea of having me, and giving me the gift of life." I can't think of a sweeter thing to say.
While many people experienced grief this week, I also saw a group of people united in their faith, love, and respect for one another and our country. My hope is that today will serve as a tangible reminder of the great country that we live in. A country that prides itself on opportunities, freedom, love, and human dignity. We are a nation that comes together during times of sorrow.
My hope is that people will continue remembering the people of New York who sacrificed their lives on 9-11. My hope is that going forward, people will feel blessed to live in our country and invest more in our communities. My hope is that Americans can work together in unity to better ourselves and the world we live in.
My hope is that people will never forget the individuals who lost their lives on 9-11.
Psalm 46 (read today by President Obama at Ground Zero):
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling, there’s a river whose streams shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the Tabernacle of the Most High. She shall not be moved.
God shall help her just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.The God of Jacob is our refuge.