I can tell you what I was doing September 11, 2001. I spent the early morning rowing, went to work, and then began a new part-time job that afternoon. Later that evening I was one of a few cars on the highway as I went to tutor recent emigrants here to the US.
I can tell you what I was doing other major event days, too, for the most part.
It’s the “beyond” part, however, that most people don’t talk about. All of these events change the way one sees the world and are a reminder of just how human we are. Had my life been different, I may have been in New York that day. Yet I can’t and don’t dwell on that. Life is what it is sometimes.
I remember driving through a local municipality shortly after 9/11 and seeing all of the red, white, and blue balloons that had been placed all along the major thoroughfare now deflated and soon thereafter they were gone. I remember seeing something similar when the first Gulf War began. Life goes on for everyone in different ways.
My significant other commented tonight that they are more sensitive to these things now that I am an EMT. That is one of many ways my life has gone on. The talk always floats on the anniversaries about tributes and to my way of seeing things, the best tribute of all is living your life and going on. I can’t change, no one can change, what has happened. However, I can change what I do, how I think about it, and how I choose to live my life. I am not one to crawl into a hole when things are going wrong. Instead, I find it just makes me want to get out more.
I remember my emigres calling asking if I wanted to cancel. I said, no, I am coming. My new job didn’t cancel and we spent the time talking about what had happened. When Sandy Hook occurred, the holiday parties planned for that night went on in a muted spirit. Those examples were the best tributes. Life is full, life is sacred. May the wedding always come before the funeral.