This anger and fear is still there, but the beauty and love that has been, and is still there, of those reaching out to help when all seems darkest and lost is still going strong.
Here's to the helpers.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." — Mister Rogers
That day was hot. Washington, DC had not gotten the memo about Fall being near. The sun was bright in the sky. That day was perfect weather to be outside. There were people out running and biking on the trail around my apartment. It was busy and happy.
That day I looked around my apartment and saw boxes upon boxes and too many things. I was in a hurry to get to school. I was rushed and not focused. It was my first real day of Graduate School with the Defense Intelligence Agency. I drove a tiny old Honda Civic that was well loved and still smelled like diving from her recent time in Hawaii.
That day I stared out the window. I could see Reagan-National Airport across the river. Wow, there were a lot of planes on the ground. Almost too many...weird. That day we were learning speed reading.
That day a Colonel came in to turn on the news. We stared at the TV. It seemed surreal to be so stunned while standing in a building dedicated to using intelligence to prevent these exact attacks.
That day I saw smoke rise from across the river and my heart stopped. I felt helpless. I knew the time would come when the military would be needed, but today was the day where First Responders must answer the call. They chose to rush in while others were fleeing. They chose harm’s way so others could live.
That day is a day I cannot forget.
So, THIS day, I will choose to remember First Responders in a purposeful way. This day I will stop and talk to my children about the importance of those that choose to help. This day I will recognize the thousands that are First Responders on a purely volunteer basis. I am grateful for them and their families and their willingness to answer the call.