What 9/11 means to me

I was 14 when two planes struck the World Trade Center ten years ago. I was too young to really have any idea what was going on, let alone to understand the enormous ramifications that would come with the day.

I never thought that, ten years later, I would still remember exactly where I was when I first learned what happened.

So many people died on that day. Innocent people who were just trying to do their job, earn a living and go home to their families. Heroic people who sacrificed everything just to save a life. And so many others. All because of one stupid, nonsensical act of terrorism.

Even as time passed, I still really had no idea what 9/11 meant to me. If you asked me this even a week ago, I may not have been able to give you an answer.

But as I sit here and watch these tributes on television about so many families who were torn apart on that day, whose lives unraveled on that morning on Sept. 11, only to have the courage and strength to pick up the pieces and keep living, well, I think I know what 9/11 means to me now.

Life is about love. It’s about relationships. It’s about caring. If you don’t have these things, then you simply haven’t lived.

When you listen to a woman talk about her husband, who she loved so much, and who died while responding to 9/11, and talking about how her world had shattered, it makes you realize what truly is important in life. It truly and wholly puts everything into perspective.

I often find myself becoming annoyed, or sometimes feeling pity for myself over something silly; something that really bears no consequence. But after watching what some of these families had to endure over the last decade following 9/11, it really makes me want to slap myself in the face.

If you don’t have someone in your life who you would you become absolutely heartbroken and devastated over were you to ever lose them, well then you should find one. Because life is too short not to love. And that is what 9/11 has taught me.

And you know how the world works in mysterious ways? Well get this. I began today’s blog by saying how I was 14 years old on 9/11/01. I remember that I was in third period earth science class, and that my teacher, Mr. Graziano, walked into our classroom and immediately said, “a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center.”

Whenever I think about 9/11, I think about that moment. In fact, I was just thinking about the other day. Since that class ended, and when I graduated high school three years later, I never saw Mr. Graziano again.

However, yesterday, on September 10, I was at a local high school covering a football game for the newspaper that I write for. I was sitting in the press box, getting ready for the game to begin, when I hear, “Did you go to Mepham High School?”

I turn, unsure if I was even the one being spoken to. When I realized I was, I said “Yes, yes I did.” Moments later, I realized who the man was who asked me that.

It was Mr. Graziano.

The world comes full circle sometimes, doesn’t it?

Never forget. Never.

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