Every Day is 9/11
Have you ever been having an amazing day but everyone around you has a rain cloud over their head? You want to celebrate and rejoice but you also recognize the sorrow surrounding you. That’s how I feel every September 11th. I’ve come to develop a split personality on this day, with half of me reliving the bliss of that day and half of me re-experiencing the trauma that changed our nation forever.
On Tuesday the 11th of September, 2001, in Las Vegas, Nevada I married the man of my dreams in the Canterbury wedding chapel in the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. It doesn’t have to be a Saturday to get married in Vegas, right? And it was the perfect day…we could enjoy our wedded bliss for a few days in glitzy Las Vegas, then fly out to Florida and catch our honeymoon cruise.
It was perfect…until it wasn’t.
Due to the time difference between the East Coast and Vegas, things started going downhill very early. My sister in law, Amanda, called my hotel room at 6-something in the morning because she wasn’t sure which room her husband, my brother, was staying in. I’ll never forget her saying, “Oh my God, turn on the TV!”
Things went from bad to worse as we received news of the second plane and the Pentagon. I was getting dressed and trying to put on make-up for our 11 o’clock wedding, but it’s difficult to cry and put on mascara at the same time. I had to shut out all thoughts of how the fabric of the nation was being ravaged around me. We’d come here for a singular purpose: to become a team for life. It was us against the world before and it would be us against the world after. Trauma, terrorists, and disaster be damned.
Our families packed the chapel. Most of them already knew they would be in Vegas longer than expected due to all the air traffic being grounded. Everyone was taking things in stride. I walked down the aisle with my brother to give me away with only one thought in my head: this is my wedding day. We said “I do” with people crying for all the right reasons.
On a day of intense suffering and destruction, a day that would change the country forever, there was also light and hope and love as my life was also changed forever.
While 9/11 is an extreme example, we all experience this situation every single day. Not a day goes by where someone does not experience the pain of losing a loved one. Where there is darkness. Starvation. The threat of oppression or global disaster. Each day, people suffer. There is injustice. There is crime. And on those very same days, people fall in love. Give birth. Achieve goals. Experience personal joy and compassion. They help strangers, save lives and see beauty. And sometimes they get married. In this way, every day is like 9/11.
Such is the balance of life. The yin and the yang, the good and the evil. They exist alongside one another, and even inside each one of us. But we should not look at any day in a vacuum. We don’t reflect upon yesterday by only conjuring up images of the blood and carnage on the evening news. We remember the lunch we had with an old friend or watching our children learn something new. I believe this is also the way we should remember 9/11. Acknowledging and honoring the lost, remembering the vital importance of the unity of humanity and celebrating the joys that happen in the middle of even the darkest times.