My mother died just about three years ago. In fact, it will be 3 years in November. November 18th in fact.
Do I remember her? Yes. Just about every day. How could you not remember the person who made you, brought you into the world, raised you and then was there to support you as you flew off on your own to make your way and your mark in this world? You can't forget that.
Do I think about her all the time? No, I don't. I didn't when she was alive either. Do I think about her sometimes? Yes, of course. I bought the house I currently live in from her. The house I was raised in from the time I was 13 until well into my twenties. There are reminders everywhere. I got her car, her last car, when she passed away. That sits in my garage. I see it just about everyday.
Of course, since my mother died before me, that means that until she died, there wasn't a day I was on this earth that she wasn't. My world simply didn't exist without her. Now it does. Her physical self anyway. Now, I just have the spiritual side left. And the memories. And the reminders of her I see in others.
But, I know that she would want me to move on. To live. To go forward. Sure, not to forget her, which I wont. But to keep living, not dwelling on what was. She didn't suffer nine months with me in her stomach, then 45 years with me on the outside, raise me, feed me, school me, everything me, so that I could stop living when she passed. Or better said, living in the past when the only way to live is to live in the present and go forth into the future without her.
Simply put, you have to move on. You don't forget. You remember. But you don't dwell. You have your memories. You have your recollections. Your good times. Your bad times. Your shared times. Those never go away. But you don't really think that often about them. They are memories. That is what they are. And being memories, they are part of your past. You have spouses, children, friends and interests that are still here. New memories to make. New places to go and to see. New experiences to have. Those that can't make that journey with you will be thought of, but only briefly, in those brief moments when something reminds you of them. Other than that, and I know this sounds harsh, they aren't really a part of your life anymore.
When November 18th comes, will I think about her more that day than this day? I suppose I will. But I remember that I didn't last year. Every day without someone is equally important in my mind. Just as important as the day they left. And also not that important in the grand scheme of things. It was then, it isn't now. You have to move on.
So, today is the day. Twelve years ago today a bunch of crazy terrorists following a misguided leader who wanted nothing more than to take revenge for whatever it is he thinks we did or are doing to him and his people decided to execute a plan to cut into the heart of American society and show us that they can hurt us. I remember that. How could you not?
Yes I remember. We all remember. How could you not? You can never forget a day like September 11th, 2001. It is one of those days. JFK, Pearl Harbor, D Day, Canada Russia 72 for most Canadians.
I still get chills when I see a clip of Paul Hendersons goal in the final game, of the final minute of the greatest hockey series ever played. And it takes me back. Yes, of course it does. But I don't think about it everyday. Nor do I watch it. Nor do I really remember what exact day it was.
Days like that. You simply never forget. But, while you don't forget, it is time to move on. I don't think those that died in the name of freedom would want us to keep focusing on the past. We wont forget, but we have to let it go. So, I don't share my memories of that day anymore. I have done that in the past and many have as well. It is 12 years now since the towers fell. Time to move on. It is now history, not really news or interesting. And I don't think it honors them, or anyone. There is no honor in bombing two towers and a pentagon, and there is no honor in dieing because they did that. It wasn't an honor thing. Going to fight in a war and dieing so others can have freedom, that is honor. In this case it was a simple act of terror by those who think they can scare and bully us into getting their way. That didn't work. It hasn't worked. It wont work.
To me it is just another day. Just like any day, I am glad to have the chance to live it. No more than yesterday, or tomorrow, or any other day. That is really the only thing the terrorists took that day. The ability for those who actually died to live and enjoy more days. And they took loved ones from their families. And for that, they should burn in hell. But otherwise, it is over and I hardly ever think about it. Not even on this day. You can. That is your choice. That is what freedom is all about. You can choose to think about what you want, and so can the rest of us.
I focus on what it gave us. Not what it took away. Bombing those towers strengthened our resolve to move forward with life no matter what some crazy terrorists do. This is basically what I said about the Boston thing in the spring, and likely what I will say when that hits the one year anniversary in a few months.
So, I will leave you with my one thought that lingers from that day forward.
"You can knock down the towers, but you can't knock down the spirit it took to build them."
I think about what my mother gave me not what I lost when she was taken away. And mostly, that was the strength to move forward past any obstacle or event to newer, brighter, better, happier days.
If you want to honor those that lost their lives that day, move forward and past it and stop dwelling on it. If I was in one of those planes or in the towers doing my job, living life, that is what I would want you to do.