Please do not think I have forgotten, because there are days when it's all I can think about.
There are days when I can recall every moment of that morning as though it happened yesterday.
We were in our frenzied morning routine, getting ready for work and school. The television was on, but the station was all cartoons, no news. There was no indication that anything had changed, no indication that the world was reeling.
That year, I was working with a team, going from school to school, checking vision and hearing of all the students in the district. I arrived at work just as a student came into the office and asked the secretary if school was still being held. She gave me a puzzled look and I shrugged. "Of course," she said.
The boy nodded and dashed out to tell his mother she could leave. I asked what it was all about and the secretary shook her head. I went back to where the rest of the screening team was and one of them asked where Joyce was.
"She's at the airport, but stuck in traffic. She thought they'd be back by now, but her friends can't leave, you know."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because of the planes... Haven't you heard?"
I thought it was one of those internet hoaxes that got everybody all crazy and panicked over nothing. Like those emails begging for cards to be sent to the dying boy...
Then someone brought in a television and I called home, instructing my daughter that she was not to go to work at the mall that day. I wanted to gather my children and hide at home. Until I learned the Pentagon had been hit, then I almost lost my shit. My sister-in-law worked there.
I was on the phone to my husband, but he had already heard from his folks. His sister was fine.
She was fine. She was fine. She was fine.
Days later, as we left another school, the no-fly rule had been lifted. As we stood outside, we heard a strange noise, and as one, we looked up to see a small plane coming directly toward the school. We stood in silence, waiting to see what would happen next. When it passed overhead, we all breathed a sigh of relief and someone said, "It's hard to not look at anything and not see a potential weapon."
I will never forget, just like my parents will never forget Pearl Harbor. I will honor those who died with a moment of silence and respect, and I will honor those who continue, by living life and sharing love.
And being very, very thankful.