One of the most important words in the English language is remember. Our experiences and the memories we have of them help shape who we are.
I remember a morning 8 years ago that changed my life, and the lives of millions. I woke up to the murmur of the television in the living room above me. I began to go about my morning but shortly heard a knock on the door. My mother with alarm told me that 2 planes had flown into the towers of the World Trade Center. I immediately got up and viewed with other family members the scenes that would be burned into my memory.
I remember watching that first tower leaning and out loud begging “stay up stay up stay up” It broke my heart when it fell. I remember watching the second fall. I remember hearing about the attack on the Pentagon. I remember hearing that another plane had crashed. It all seemed unreal and I was too shocked for any emotional response.
I remember when it finally hit me and I held my head in my hands and sobbed. My family gathered close to one another.
I remember when statements such as “if you ever lived in New York or New Jersey you knew somebody” hit me like a ton of bricks. I had served my mission there. I spent a lot of time meeting people and no matter what the response, I would end the meeting by saying “God bless.” I remember realizing how much I meant it. I remember wishing I could go back and embrace my beloveds there.
I remember realizing that before I left on my mission I had spent a semester in Israel, and how difficult it was to see people and their land that I loved damaged so much by terrorism. I remember how shocking and devastating it was to know that they had now attacked my home.
I remember reading articles about the park and rides in New Jersey and other surrounding states where cars were abandoned because their owners did not return home. One article spoke of East Brunswick specifically it was the second and last area that I had served in. I sobbed some more.
I remember reading all the names worried I did indeed no somebody.
I remember crying with my nation over the lost and suffering. I remember hearing the solidarity that other nations expressed to us.
I remember seeing our neighborhoods filled with flags as we unified in love of country, in love of peace and in love of one another.
I remember praying to feel peace, and mercifully being granted that.
We must never forget.