Love, Life, Loss….9/11 I will never forget.

We all face these moments in our life that will define who we are in the future. At least in those moments that is what it feels like. It is hard to determine what is fate, destiny or just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. For as long as I can remember I have felt things in ways that have made it impossible to kept my emotional wits about me. I never thought I was better than anybody. I always saw the greateness that resides in each one of us. Being attracted to those more broken then myself it was like their pain made me thankful for my journey. Made it seems like my trials, like my tribulations were manageable. Being able to sympathize with others has allowed me to embrace different aspects in my life that I never thought possible. When it comes to reaching a hand out there are no nerves, no anxiety, no fear. Just this place of warmth and love that I know the World needs. I know what it feels to walk alone, I just hope that in time none of us will have to. There will always be moments that help shape and mold you into the person you want to become. Maybe not all at once but in time it will become clear.

On the 18 year anniversay of 9/11 I always reflect and compare my feelings to that morning to where I am now. To me it was always more than those graphic images that took over our wavelengths. Every talk show, every news, channel, every headling was consummed with fear. I awoke after the towers had been hit. After they had fallen. I was watching in real time the chaos unfold as I was trying to understand what was happening. Everything inside me told me that it must have been a movie, a tv show. How is it possible that the morning started with the loss of so many innocent lives. Other than the people who planned this everybody else on that plane had a life. Had a family. They had plans for the lunch break, after work, for the months and years ahead. Then all of a sudden because of hate, greed and a desire to bring America to its knees you murder innocent people. The idea that this is what life was going to be…random of acts of terrorism instead of random acts of kindness. Who took a wrong turn somewhere throughout our course in history and now thousands apon thousands still suffer from the tragic moments of that day. Even now on the news this morning they talk about he first responders who are still suffering to this day. They breathed in the remains of thousands of people and debris and chemicals that day. No emotion has ever been as raw as in those minutes first after the impact.

We are Extremists. The ony thing that we can begin to comprehend are extreme levels of violence. We are so desensitized that even as I try to comprehend the state of our World there is more violence unfolding. We have forgot what it means to live in true peace. We let the victims continue to roll in their final resting places as they try to understand just how it is we decided to live a life like this. Our existence isn’t for hate and war and to die at the hands of each other. We are entitled. We are selfish. We can’t even see down the tips of our own noses because our heads are too big. I was in Finance in the Thompson River Univesity. I never knew entirely what finance was until I was exposed to it in Post Secondary. I long believed I would be an accountant but something told me to try a different way. It was my teacher that noticed that I had a natural ability for financial numbers (not much else it took me a few tries to pass calculus but breezed through business calculus). Being young and impressionable you trust the guidance of others that have seen thousands of students before you. I love the spreads and markets and learning how to “predict” trends and fluctuations. This felt like it was me. I dreamed of working on the stock exhange executing large orders. We all have a dream and we all have a journey that morphs into our destiny.

As the morning unfolded it seemed sureal. All my classes were cancelled mostly so we could be kept informed of what was happening. The World was in turmoil. There was so much death. So much tragedy. So much destruction. And the fear that we were fighting an enemy here on our own land ripped through everybody.  This was the first real national tragedy I watched unfold in real time. I was consummed with every aspect of what was happening. Their was so many victims. So many families that started their day as they usually did. Just some came home and some didn’t. There are a few stories I remember most from that time. I either heard it on Sally Jessie or maybe even Montel or maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe all I have to do is share their storey and their existence gets to dance in our minds once again. I don’t need to know their faces to know about their existence and the importance that time played in both of their destinies. This stories began to shape a new way of thinking for me. Something that was planted and would begin to bloom any time I pushed myself further. I do not know who any of these people were or there family. All I know is that they started their day just like I do. We get up, we get ready and we begin our day. I can’t imagine the pain all these families felt. Without knowing them I have trouble comprehending how it is the World can keep turning after all of that. It’s in these moments of great loss when I realize the significance of our own meaning of life. If our stories are predetermined before we even inhabit our physical bodies why is there so much pain when we get to answer our higher calling and move on. So many of us live our lives like tomorrow is guaranteed. There are a few thousand people who will disagree. Periodically throughout my life I will think about those moments leading up to what is the biggest attack on US soil and I will allow myself to grieve for their lives. They should have had these great lives. Filled with whatever their hearts so desired. The idea that so many of us aren’t able to live our lives in the fullest potential makes me sad. It makes me feel like they all lost their lives for nothing. Both in the air and in the ground. I feel the loss that the World had to recover from. The pain of losing so many at once. The haunting memories they left behind and the loved ones who will never forget. Not only do they have to grieve for the loss of the ones that they loved but now they have to grieve for humanity, humility and grace.

Being who I am I feel this need to make it so they didn’t die in vain. I don’t care what the rest of the World is doing or that so many people have told me I am crazy. The loss of life in the Financial district that day 18 years impacted me. I watched every news storey I could. I burned the images of those jumping into my brain. I had no idea how something so tragic could even happen here. But it happens everyday. Just not here. Not in our country. Not in our soil. Have we not learned anything from this tragedy. If the victims of 9/11 could speak I know that they would want us to try and change the World. To take the stigma away of violence. To be more loving and more accepting. Before this horrific event I was a pretty cocky University student. I thought the World owed me something. It was only after all this that I realized that I owed the World. I had the chance to visit ground zero. I stared up into the sky and imagined what it would have felt like for those souls. I walked around the musuem that hosted their possessions. Wallets, pictures, utensils, clothing, dolls. It was all there. Pieces of the plane. Ticket stubs. Turning the corner I was struck by just how many, many lives were taken that day. There was pictures of all those that we had lost. There was letters from their children, spouses, parents. This was a tragedy and the energy of all those were alive in that room. What a terrible thing to have happened to us all.

It changed the way we looked at each other. Hate began to surface out of fear for what would happen next.  People who were born here on American/Canadian soil were being subject to various hate crimes. We feared our neighbours. We even feared ourselves. I remember that I used to sit and watch to the music video Hero by Enrique. The 9/11 edition. I couldn’t help but feel this terrible loss for everybody.  I knew I wanted to live a better life. Out of respect simply for the fact that I got out of bed in the morning. It was through this tragedy that I begin to truly believe that our destinies are predetermined. Every storey that was being told was those of chance but also that things happened as they should. There was the storey of a man who not only was late getting up but also broke his shoe lace out the door. As he had an important meeting that moment he decided to take the extra couple minutes and get new shoelaces. By the time he got out of the drugstore you could see the smoke billowing as it took over the downtown core. There is also the storey of the man who stayed with his friend who was wheelchair bound. They were stuck in between floors where the plan hit. They tried to carry their friend down the stairs. Realizing that it was an impossible feat they relented and the man in the chair accepted his fate. What nobody expected was his friend was prepared to wait with him. In the off chance the firemen made it up that far to get them. Just in case he called his wife to tell her what he had planned. He had a chance to save himself but couldn’t allow his friend to die alone. This is what they died for. Once again human lives have been sacrificed in order to show us the value in every single moment. We just choose to ignore them. Somehow our lives have become to busy to comfort anybody in need. I won’t be that person.

I feel an obligation to live my life in the highest regard that I can. I have life where so many others have not. I ran a marathon, I have travelled and met some wonderful people, I am raising the best little man ever. I try to better myself and my friends and families by being a beacon of strength and a wealth of knowledge. I have learned to not take my life for granted. It is ok to lead a life not travelled by many just as long as when you do come across the paths of others you leave a positive lasting impression. Another bucket list item was to pay my respects for every hard working American that was impacted on that day. A few weeks ago I had my chance. In Yuba Wisconsin, Walter Addie captured these pictures at a their firehall. I know that it is not New York or the emergency responders on that day but they are emergency responders and they deserve our respect, love and admiration. I am thankful for the way that in times of tragedy we all come together. I want all the victims and their families to know that a small girl in Alberta Canada was deeply affected by the loss. I didn’t need to know any of you personally to know that the World took a great loss on that day. I will try to live a better life and to always try to brighten each others days. I will never take another for granted again and I will cherish each and every memory I have. Thank you for your strength even when you had no more strength to give.

 

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