Have you seen my son?
Not too tall, 5'8"
She held up a colored copy, photograph
From his wedding day
And this is his pregnant wife
Carrying his last dream
He walked down 46 floors before he felt the rush
The rush of gasoline
I can feel the pain
Looking in their eyes
But I don't know gone without good-bye
If I could reach the sky
I'd bring him right back to your arms
Though I haven't seen your son, he's forever in my life
This time every year, those lyrics come to mind for me. They're from the song "Gone Without Goodbye" from Brian Littrell's solo album Welcome Home. The song was written by Billy Mann after 9/11, but it touched Brian deeply when he heard it. That's because Brian's wife, Leighanne, was scheduled to be on one of the American Airline flights out of Boston that hit the World Trade Center. They cancelled her trip just twenty-four hours before that fateful morning.
Most of us probably can't say where we were on most dates, but I think just about everyone can say where they were on September 11, 2001. For me, I was in Huntington, West Virginia at college. A phone call, from the guy I was seeing at the time, woke me up. He started talking about the World Trade Center being attacked. Not being a morning person, and definitely not fully awake at that time, I had no clue what he was talking about. When I stumbled into the living room of my apartment a few minutes later and turned on the TV, I suddenly understood.
For the next hour, my roommate and I sat there staring at the images on the screen. We were sitting there when the second plane hit. Nothing seemed real, and everything seemed to move in slow motion as everyone – newscasters, onlookers, and the two of us -- as we all tried to grasp what was happening and why.
Twelve years later, we know the who – we even know the why, but for me there still aren't answers. I still can't understand that level of hate. I don't understand that level of devotion -- to get on a plane, knowing that you're going to kill everyone on board – including yourself – as well as thousands of others. Maybe it's better that I don't understand.
Every year on September 11th, we remember nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks. We also think of, and honor, the first responders – some of whom still suffer ramifications. It's a somber day. And what I remember is that the deaths didn't end there. September 11th was only the beginning. That day led to the War on Terror and the loss of thousands of other lives.
I am thankful for our military, for the first responders, for everyone that answered the call on this day twelve years ago and answered it every day since. Meanwhile, my heart aches for those families that never got to say goodbye, for the children that will never know their parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles. There were no winners that day, not even the terrorists. I like to believe, though, that in the end we are the winners. The United States – us as Americans – continue to stand strong. We were not defeated that day. We're like the Phoenix, and we rise from the ashes.
Yes, I know that this is an entertainment blog, and that is where I like to put my focus because it is a passion for me. Today, though, I needed to take a moment to remember, just as I hope anyone reading this takes the time to remember. We should never forget.
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