It's been ten years.
It seems like only yesterday that I sat in my lightweight cotton nightie watching the morning news ... wishing the weather would cool down ... when the local anchor interrupted the broadcast.
Listening and watching the events of 9/11 throughout the day ... and for the weeks thereafter ... and feeling hopeless because I could not help.
Ten years. Ten years of living with new words added to our everyday vocabulary ... such as "terror threat", "shoe bomb", "body scanner", "Al Qaeda", "Taliban", "anthrax", "burqa", "jihad" ... and Osama bin Laden. Phrases that took on new meaning like "Let's roll" and "evildoers" and "Ground Zero".
Ten years of watching soldiers going off to war in mystical, faraway places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan ... to fight an enemy that attacked us on American soil. Ten years of watching troops return home to a hero's welcome ... while others came home to a mourner's grief.
Things have changed a great deal in ten years here in America and for that matter, throughout the world.
One thing, however, has not changed:
The recollection of that day. The images from the Pentagon, from Stonycreek Township near Shanksville ... and from the World Trade Center ... these images are forever burned into the minds, hearts and spirits of Americans who will never forget the sacrifice and the heroism.
My heart aches for the unmeasurable loss suffered by families, friends, our country ... and the world ... and ultimately, the loss of innocence.
In a decade of reflection, I find that I must keep reminding myself that without suffering there is no compassion.
It's been ten years. While so very much has changed ... what is the one, ever-vigilant constant?
America is a country that rebuilds, renews, regroups and resurrects ... and through compassion ... America remembers.
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