I was seven years old when the twin towers collapsed.
My mom picked me up from school early. We turned on the news. A video of the terrorist attack aired on repeat.
The towers were standing strong.
And then they came tumbling down.
As a second grader, I don’t think I fully understood what was happening in our world, in our home country.
As a senior in college, I don’t think I ever will.
We were all impacted by 9/11 in varying degrees.
I didn’t lose my uncle who is a first responder or a friend who serves in the Marines. Nobody stole a mother or father, sister or brother from me. However, I still hurt when I remember the tumbling towers.
Though I empathize with those who did, I cannot pretend to know the utter and permanent heartbreak they felt that day.
I cannot fathom the feelings of devastation, anger, confusion and emptiness that tore apart their hearts from the inside-out on Sept. 11, 2001.
It’s 14 years later.
I am sure the feelings of devastation, anger, confusion and emptiness revisit those who were directly impacted by 9/11.
On the other hand, since the towers fell, there have also been 14 years of opportunity. There has been opportunity for:
Healing over hate.
Joy over pain.
Laughter over tears.
Gain over loss.
We will never forget the towers.
We will never forget the innocent who lost their lives.
We will never forget the selfless who gave their lives to save others.
We will always remember the lost.
We will always remember the saved.
We will always remember the ones who were left behind to live without their loved ones.
We will continue to tell stories of heartbreak, healing and forward motion.
We will love others while risking the chance of losing them.
And we will forever embrace the hope of a better tomorrow.