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Love is the key to healing on a day like today

Two tours in Iraq later and 17 years till the day, I find myself writing this as a way to express to you all that today may be a somber one, one that we cannot figure out how and why it happened, but it does not have to be one in which we wallow in sorrow.

On 9/11/2001, I was a high school senior, struggling to wake up to the sound of my alarm that went off at 6:00AM. I despised first-period chemistry. The fact that I jumped right into the periodic table at the ass crack of dawn was less than ideal but tuning into Howard Stern upon waking always put me in a good mood. Except on 9/11/01, Howard didn’t talk about his usual topics of dating, sex, politics. The moment I turned on my Sony Boombox, he announced a plane had hit the Twin Towers. Who would have steered a plane into the towers so early in the morning? At first listen, most assumed including me that the pilot was drunk or fell asleep steering the place. Least I thought that’s what happened.

I rushed to tell my dad upstairs as he was cooking breakfast. 
“You’re shitting me,” he said. 
“No, dad, a plane hit them. Just heard on the radio.” I told him.

We turned on Fox news and there it was, the North tower floors 93–99 engulfed in flames.

“Holy shit.” my dad said, “Look at that.”

It was quite a sight to see, one of two iconic towers with a hole big enough to fit two commercial airliners. The news anchor was analyzing, working the camera the best he knew how. What came next as both my father and I stood in our living room changed the course of my life forever.

The camera caught a second plane flying at higher than average speeds, following it until it made an impact with the second tower. My dad grabbed my shoulder, gripping right in one of the pressure points of my shoulder socket.

“God almighty. We’ve been attacked.”
It was unimaginable to me as a 17-year old that someone would kill innocent people by flying a plane into a tower, let alone the World Trade Center towers. But as my father pulled me in close, his thumb and fingers still gripping the muscles of my shoulder, It was the first time I felt rage, sadness, pain all at once, a cocktail of emotion I again to this day cannot wrap my head around.

Two tours in Iraq later and 17 years till the day, I find myself writing this as a way to express to you all that today may be a somber one, one that we cannot figure out how and why it happened, but it does not have to be one in which we wallow in sorrow.

Today should be a day of remembrance, a day that we honor the gift of life and its fragility. Those people on 9/11 were going to work, the same thing they were doing the day before, the week before, the month before. They thought nothing of being attacked. Yet, their lives were taken without warning.

I ask that you take 5 minutes to turn off your phone, shut down your computer or step away from it and sit in silence. Think of those you love, call them if you haven’t spoken to them in a while. If you haven’t hugged someone lately, look to those close to you. It is essential that a day like today, we seek each other out for comfort. Love is the key to healing on a day like today.