Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reclaim the Day

On September 11, 2001, I had a bad day. I was in my New York City office at 8:20 a.m. Little did I know, I would go home early that day for all the worst reasons. You don't need a recap, but from that day and through the 10 years since, the events of the day have been a focus.

We talk about living in a post-9/11 world... at least the commentators do. It is the latest generation's "day." They used to ask my age group where we were for the Challenger disaster. Now, we all remember where we were on 9/11.

I am all for honoring the brave who ran to the scene. And for mourning the losses, so heavy. We say "never forget." Honestly, I don't think we ever could.

Which brings me to the point at hand: when we spend the entire day of 9/11 every year in solemnity, it does what the terrorists want: it leaves us sad and frozen. The terrorists view 9/11 as their day... the day America was shaken.

I say we take it back for ourselves. We can memorialize all we lost without, at the same time, dwelling on the darkness of the day. The way I see it, those who died never got to do the things they loved again... and we owe it to them to live.

I say we reclaim the day. Remember what happened but force ourselves out of the TV news memorials and celebrate what really makes this a great country. Because when we spend 9/11 living in the land we call home, not worrying about "credible threats" and doing what we love, we have truly defeated the terrorists' goals.

Maybe that's spending time with family. Maybe you decide it's the day you do your fall shopping every year. This year, for me, it meant spending the day in Mt. Rainier National Park, which, if you ask me... if you really want to celebrate America, your nearest national park is a fine place to start.

For me, with today's trip, I had another 9/11 words cannot describe. But for all the right reasons.

Take the day back. Live and love. Remember... but do not despair.