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Happy Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, and it’s not just important but necessary that we honor those who have served and are serving in our armed forces. The good news is we want to honor those who put their lives on the line for us here at home. The slightly awkward part is sometimes determining exactly what the best way to accomplish this recognition?

Is thanking a veteran enough? Most are humble, choosing to step aside from the spotlight of elaborate recognition. What do they prefer, particularly when it occurs serendipitously in a casual setting?

As part of his surprise visit to Saturday Night Live for an appearance on ‘Weekend Update,’ Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw had a damn good idea.

Plus a few great laughs were had alongside SNL cast member Pete Davidson who righted a wrong from a week ago in classy–and entertaining–fashion.

Never Forget is right.

Happy Veterans Day. 

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Never Forget

Sixteen years have passed and yet that day will never fade from memory. And that goes for everyone who lived through the day that felt like the end of the world. While part of me wants to write endlessly about 9/11 recalling every detail and memory, the greater urge today has been to look back into the sky.

On September 11, 2001, I looked up into the clear blue September sky thinking how everything I knew had changed. A paralyzingly eerie feeling overwhelmed my entire body in this surreal gaze. And as a sophomore in high school, I was old enough to process what had happened. The tragedy of the day, with its heart-wrenching imagery, the heroism of the first responders and passengers on United 93 and the ever-lasting, sinking feeling that the world would never be the same will last forever.

The fact that my dad was almost in New York City, specifically the World Trade Center, on the morning of 9/11…Luckily, he got the last flight out of New York City back to Columbus on September 10th, completely unaware of what would happen just hours later.

RIP to all the victims and their families from the plane crashes in New York City, Washington, D.C. and the United 93 flight that heroically crashed in Pennsylvania.

Never forget and “let’s roll.”

The Day the World Changed Forever

9/11

It’s a surreal sensation that I can perfectly retrace my steps beginning with hearing the shocking news from a classmate passing by me near the doors of the second floor of my high school’s library. He said a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Confused, I continued to my math class around the corner, walked in and looked up at the television screen in the top left corner like everybody else as I made my way to my seat. There was a giant fiery and smoky hole in one of the towers. Black smoke was billowing out. We had no idea what was going on. I assumed it was a small plane whose pilot lost control. An accident for sure. But as I settled in for a few more moments, I realized the hole was far too large for such a small plane.

It started to register this was no accident.

September 11, 2001 is a day in which those who lived through it will remember forever. It was a tragedy fueled by panic and fear, as well as the pressing questions of why, how, what and who? However, it was also a day that showed us what true heroism looked like with police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel and everyday citizens helping each other through the debris of a literal hell on earth situation that September morning in New York City, Washington, D.C. and aboard a plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and during the dark days that followed.

There aren’t enough words to properly describe and remember the events of September 11th that occurred thirteen years ago. But two words continue to represent an overarching sentiment for us all, on this day, 9/11:

Never Forget.

12 Thoughts on 9/11

Twelve years ago, two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers, a third hijacked airplane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth hijacked airplane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania on a clear, unassuming September morning. The world was changed forever.

I was walking through the second floor of my high school’s library when I heard a fellow classmate of mine since elementary school say, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center” to someone near him as I strolled by towards the doors to the hallway. I could tell that while he said it as if it was probably an accident, he also knew it was something more…Confused, I initially hypothesized a small plane had accidentally flown too low and hit one of the skyscrapers. Once I walked into my math class and saw the images on the television screen hanging in the front left corner of the room that every single person was fixated on, we all knew something truly terrible had happened. It was no accident. Then, soon thereafter, the second plane hit. The United States was under attack and nobody could believe what their eyes were seeing.    

Reflecting on what occurred on that morning, I have prepared 12 thoughts regarding what happened and what transpired on September 11, 2001:

Nobody saw it coming and our heart’s sank as the smoke billowed out from the towers
Everyone rushed to a television in shock, watching a nightmare unfold without our eye lids closed so tight
Vast panic flooded the streets of New York, Washington, D.C. and those aboard the planes as a numbness started to paralyze those running and sitting in confusion, panic and fear
Each fireman, police officer and good citizen offered a helping hand as hell surrounded them all, giving a glimmer of hope to those experiencing the unimaginable
Real heroes emerged that day, sacrificing everything for their fellow man, woman and child
Forever etched in our memories, that morning changed the world
Our accidental glances up into a clear blue September sky will never again look completely peaceful or tranquil
Rebuilding our hearts takes time, but we make sure to always take pause on this day
Good people never returned home and that’s a vacancy and pain the entire country felt then and feels today
Even as we mourn, we must also know that in the darkest of places can rise a sign of optimism, like a cross standing strong amongst the rubble or the brave words, “let’s roll”
True heroism and courage is quietly honored today, combined with the overwhelmingly emotional reflection of the entirety of what transpired on September 11, 2001
9/11 will always be remembered…always