Bring peace into your own life and walk through life with a purpose. You never know when you'll be called upon.
And we will rebuild...
It is 2015 and today is September 11th. For so many of us this is one of those days where we all say, "Where were you when?" Where were you when we fell under attack? Where were you when innocent lives were taken? Where were you when selfless first respondents lost their lives? Where where you when your sense of security and your daily life as you know it changed forever? I was getting my 1 year-old son ready for his first morning away from me in a Church-pre-K school. I had to let go of one of the people I loved most and let someone watch him for all of two hours so he'd learn what it was about to grow up and go to school. I had to feel insecure with the world around me changing so rapidly I couldn't see straight. And yet, for the sake of my two little babies...I needed to stay calm. Every year I dedicate my blog to the remembrance of what happened that day. I wore the name of a man, Joseph Mistrulli, on my arm for years, until the bracelet gave way. I didn't know him, but I took it upon myself to learn about him and remember him. In 2012 his daughter joined me on my blog, bringing two different world together as we are all brothers and sisters. She shared with me a poem she'd written for her father in it appears below. In 2014 my husband and my eldest son (who was 3 at the time of the attacks) visited Ground Zero. I tear up just thinking of my husband's reaction when he was there. He's a big strong man who had to sit on a bench and cry because it was so emotional. And...in reality...our lives changed that day forever, but we were so far away from it as well. Today I am reposting my blog post from 2012. I ask that you take a moment to think of all those who died that day and all of those who have fought for us to stay free and safe. Hug everyone you know. Bring peace into your own life and walk through life with a purpose. You never know when you'll be called upon.
IN REMEMBRANCE 2012 (reposted)
There is never a day that has passed since September 11, 2001 that I don't appreciate the mountains outside my window, the blue sky over my head, and even the sound of air traffic. Today, just miles from my home, at the Red Rocks Amphitheater thousands will walk the stairs, many in full firefighter gear carrying tanks and hoses, to commemorate the day that so many people were lost. For years I have wanted to walk beside them, and still, I make it my goal that someday I will walk that walk.
Last year I was alone on 9/11. I walked in a local parade with my karate family. A sense of community wellness and love was deep in my heart that day. On the tenth anniversary, I came home to an empty house, void of the six men that I protect and likewise protect me. And I, like I'm sure so many others, was sucked into the television documentaries of the day that had passed.
Living in Colorado, let me tell you how it was here. It was quiet.. Eerily quiet. No sounds of air traffic. No kids playing in the streets. No traffic. The world had stopped. Seeing the footage of New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, I know that they had no silence.
The media sheltered the world from so much of the devastation. We did not see those trapped and hanging from the windows screaming for help. We didn't see shopkeepers hiding behind their counters avoiding debris. We didn't realize people who lived across the streets lost their homes. It was about the towers.
Last year I think faces were added to our minds. Last screams. Last phone calls. Last images.
Even now as I think about it tears fill my eyes. Strangers carried each other down flights of stairs as they passed firefighters walking up the stairs. And the devastation of how many families waited and waited for word.
I met a woman at a conference from Nova Scotia who worked at the airport that day. Her stories of the mass amount of planes that had to land there was amazing. With US air closed, this was the only choice. Airplanes filled the hangers, runways, and highways. She told us of two young girls who had come from England and were headed to Boston. Their trusting parents put them on a flight, and their grandparents would be at the end of that flight in Boston, but the plane landed in Nova Scotia. I can't imagine the frantic family there, who wasn't in a tower, who didn't lose a loved one, but because of such a horrible act of terrorism their little girls were lost with strangers.
What did we learn that day? We learned that we are all neighbors. Thousands of miles away, Coloradans filled blood banks to donate blood. The first plane to fly after the attacks was a private jet from Colorado carrying blood to New York. We opened our wallets, our homes, and our hearts. Strangers became brothers and sisters. We banded together as Americans--as people.
I think of how much it hurts to think about today, from me, a television bystander untouched by the events directly. Sure, I can't meet my husband at the gate of an airplane. I have to take off my shoes to go through airport security. I can't knit on the plane. But I am alive. I am well. I didn't lose anyone I knew and loved with all my heart. If I ache this much...I think of those families.
Every year I honor a man I never met with my posts. It started with my sister-in-law asking my husband to get her a bracelet with Jason Dahl's name on it. He was the captain of United Airlines flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania, and a fellow Coloradan. He asked if I wanted one and I said no. It felt petty. No good would come if I made a monetary purchase to a company to took a name from a list of those who were lost in such horror. But he bought me one. I wore it for years. My son wore it until the metal gave way. But I didn't let that gift signify just something I wore. I learned about the man.
Every year I pay tribute to Joseph Mistrulli who died when the first tower was hit. He was carpenter working to finish a job, who was to have left the building that morning at eight, a father to three, and a loving husband. His family was gracious over the years to post letters and pictures online so those of us could remember him. This week I was honored to have his daughter contact me and thank me for keeping his memory alive. Who knew that the events of that day, which live with each and every one of us, would still bring people together. She has offered to share her story here on my blog and commemorate her father. I'm beyond honored!
Some of my children were very young when this happened. Some weren't born. I look at my own life and the tragedies that have happened and the wars that were fought. I know so little about them. Born during the Vietnam War I know nothing about it. World War II, I know a little, but think of the lack of humanity that we know so little about.
9/11 may someday be something that is only called Patriot Day on our calendars, but I hope its not. I hope we continue to educate our youth on that day and to remember it. It was a horrible day. It was a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And it taught us all that there is still humanity in our society in light of a few who devastated so many lives that day.
Please go hug your kids today, your spouse, your loved ones. Tell a stranger hi. Smile at someone who looks a bit overwhelmed. Give back to the community you live in even if you only pick up a piece of trash. Be there for each other and don't forget... no matter your skin color, your religious or political beliefs, or your sex... we are brothers and sisters in this life. Take care of each other.
IN HONOR OF JOSEPH MISTRULLI
This poem was written by his daughter Angela Mistrulli (used with permission)
Who will walk me down the aisle
Who will lift my veil and smile
Who will dance with me to our song
Dancing with anyone else to butterfly kisses would just feel so wrong
Who will catch my tears before fall
Who will love me with the greatest love of all
Who will protect me from all that i fear
I dont understand why you cant be near
Who will be at my high school graduation
Who will give me a standing ovation
Who will be proud of me no matter what i choose to do
Daddy no one could ever take the place of you
Bernadette Marie is an Internationally Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance as well as a mother of 5, and owner of 5 Prince Publishing and Illumination Author Events. Read her full bio here.