9/11/2001 is a day that lives on in the hearts and minds of the people in United States. Its a day that we remember, not just the heroes and the fallen, but the mundane things that would normally be forgotten.

I remember my grandmother telling me about what she was doing on the day that JFK was assassinated. At the time, I wondered how one day could be seared into memory so much that she remembered the smells and the songs on the radio she had been listening to before the event. After 9/11 I understood.

It sounds weird but on the 11th of September 16 years ago I was driving into the mountains. I was excited because I had gotten a promotion and I was heading out on a new adventure. The road trip was supposed to take about 5 hours and I was slated to start work the next day, so I wanted plenty of time to unpack the car and start figuring out where my stuff was going to live in my new abode. I remember driving along a rather deserted stretch of highway, thinking that I’d been lucky to miss most of the traffic, when the DJ started talking about a plane hitting a building in New York. For a mile or so, I thought it was a joke. Even the DJ seemed to think it was a joke for a minute. But it became real all too soon.

I am not sure how I made it to my destination that day. I drove all the way there listening to news of the tragedy and wondering how it could be real. My guardian angel was watching over me, that’s the only way I could have possibly made it. When I finally got to my new home I turned on the television and called home. I nearly left and drove back home, just so I could be with my family, but I couldn’t face another car ride that long. I remember thinking that I didn’t know anyone in my new town yet and sitting in my cold room, nothing unpacked, alone, and wondering about life, love, and family. So many random questions ran through my mind and as I look back, so much has changed.

Not just in the world around us, but in my life. Since 9/11 I’ve tried to never let a day go by that I don’t tell my friends and family what they mean to me. And to make sure that my connections to those I love are strong by doing the work that all good relationships require.

Today we remember those who died as the Towers fell. As the Pentagon crumbled. And as the plane fell out of the sky. We remember the heroes who raced into dangerous situations to help save as many people as they could. And we remember the families who are missing their loved ones today and always.

I hope that we also remember our families. Our friends. And the blessings that our part of our lives. We have so much to be grateful for and although this day is shadowed with sorrow it should also be a reminder that we are alive. And to honor those who perished – we need to LIVE.