You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day. Not until it’s happening. You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you’re right in the middle of it. The day you commit to something or someone. The day you get your heart broken. The day you meet your soul mate. The day you realize there’s not enough time, because you wanna live forever. Those are the biggest days. The perfect days. – Izzie Stevens, Grey’s Anatomy
September 11th. No one even needs to explain the hurt, pain, tragedy, fear or vulnerability. We lost just under 3000 citizens that day. We lost 343 Firefighters, 73 Law Enforcement officers, 1 chaplain, and other EMT’s, nurses, and other responders. We were undefeatable at home, or so we thought. To say it was a horrible day is an understatement.
However, there were good things that happened that day too. We joined together as a nation. We put aside our differences and stood up with one voice. We put aside out politics and stood on the steps of the Capital and sang “God Bless America”. We were Americans. We take the bad and keep going. We fight for what is right. We stand up for the defenseless. We experienced (no matter how brief) a sense of unity.
But personally, that day was huge for me. September 11, 2008 was the day that I decided to stand up for first responders. In 2008, during one of the moments of silence, a deep sence of appreciation for first responders swept over me. It started a chain of events that changed my life, and continues to do so even to this day. That evening I called the Huber Heights Police and asked the dispatcher (I didn’t have permission so I won’t mention her name, but I will never forget it) if she could let the officers and fire fighters know my that “a citizen of Huber Heights appreciated them being there.” I was informed that she had not had that request in over 13 years. So that’s when I decided that I would reach as many as I could and let them know they are cared about. Since then I’ve talked (in person and via email) to officers and firefighters from all over the country. I keep every email response and cherish them all. I’ve made some great friends, who I would have never known otherwise. My desire to just reach out to these people has changed me forever. I found MY place in the world.
But another major event happened, on the exact day of the tragedy. 9/11/2001 was my first date with a wonderful woman who, in less that a year, would become my wife. We talked on the phone a few times throughout the day. She asked if II wanted to postpone coming over. We didn’t. I thought that those people who gave so much would be happy that I found love. We ate together. We cried together. We held each other. Thirteen years later, we are still together. She’s supported me, even what at times she did not understand. She kept things running at home when I helped out in Kentucky after the tornadoes. She’s been a rock at times when I needed it. She’s put up with my craziness and immaturity. It’s been hard sometimes, I’m not going to lie to you. We’ve had our share of ups and downs. But we’re still hanging in there together. So I say it publicly and unashamed – I love my wife.
So today, take time to grieve what we’ve lost. Take time to remember those who gave their all. Take time to be with your families. Then get ready to “saddle up”, because America’s brighter days are still ahead. But we have work to do.