I was at work in Pearl River, NY. I have a terrible memory. I barely remember which color Gatorade my kids told me they wanted when I packed the cooler for the beach-but the details of that day-September 11, 2001 will forever be etched into my brain and my heart.

I remember the evacuation of our little office building. I remember hearing snippets of the news on the radio. I remember the ride to my best friends house and the smoke that hung over the highway even from that distance. I remember going home and watching the news. I remember the busy signals when I tried calling my mom. I remember when I finally heard my moms voice and knew she was safe and on Staten Island. I remember my dad not being able to go to work for the first time that I could remember because the bridges were closed. I remember the fear, anxiety, and sadness. I remember wanting to do something to help. I remember so much…

I read something earlier today about missing September 12, 2001 because of all the love and kindness people experienced and I thought-wow- we need that today. Today-right now in 2020-wouldn’t it be nice to live like it was September 12, 2001. In the midst of a global pandemic when people are raging about everything-politics, race, religion. We are still humans consumed by the same fear and anxiety that have always been there. We have all kinds of yuck in our faces all day every day. Our kids are bombarded by messages about drugs, sexuality, social media… But September 12, 2001-though scared and worried for our country-we were United and we were proud to be Americans. I don’t know many people who say that today… It seems that today-while we all face this pandemic we are divided. It seems that we are no longer looking for common ground with others and that so many people just want to look for what divides us. That is what our country has turned into lately.

19 years post 9/11-here I am-married to my fireman-something I never could have imagined then-just ask him-he will tell you. He worked today and as I drove past the station and noticed the flag at half mast-my breath caught in my throat for a moment. That’s his job-this is our lives. It could be any one of us at any moment-so how do we want to live? Do we want to live as a people divided-guns blazing and ready to fight with anyone who doesn’t agree with us? Or do we want to live lives that matter-lives that make a difference-lives that positively influence others-lives that love.