Eleven years ago I was on the way to Dallas-Fort Worth airport with John, Maddie, and newborn Jack. My funny, full-of-life grandma had died the night before, and Jack and I were going to fly up for the funeral. Maddie, then 3, watched a video during the hour-and-a-half-long trip, so we had no idea what had happened. We found out only once we got to the eerily-empty airport. In those early hours following the attacks, airline officials truly had no idea when airplanes would even be allowed to fly again. When we got back in the car and turned on the radio, they were just announcing that the Pentagon had been hit. It felt like the end of the world.
Of course, we didn't get to fly out that day. No one did. I didn't get to go to the funeral. My sister read the speech I had lovingly prepared to read at Grandma's funeral. I spent the week mourning my grandma and all those who had died. I watched the coverage until I was numb. It was a horrible, horrible time.
Once the week was over, we planted a tree in our front yard for my grandma. I asked the nursery workers to find me a tree that would turn brilliant, beautiful colors each fall; a tree that would be as full of life as my grandma. We have since moved away from that house, but I'm sure that Grandma's tree brings the new owners of 6185 Laura Lane great joy each fall.
As always, September 11th also reminds me of who our nation's brave heroes really are--those who are willing to run into places while others are running out. Thank you firefighters, police, EMT's, and all of our military who keep us safe. God bless you all, as you serve and protect us.