An entire nation was brought to its knees in grief, but also – for however briefly – we were all united in love for one another and in a steadfast resolve.
Two decades later that date is now solidified in our kids’ history books as one of our generation’s darkest days in spite of the beautiful clear blue sky we woke up to that morning in New York and Washington, D.C.
Unlike so many others, my story is not about losing someone close to me that day, though my heart grieves for those who did.
Mine is a story of gratitude. Gratitude for people who made the ultimate sacrifice when they diverted a plane away from its intended target, the U.S. Capitol, where I was working that day.
Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93, the attack on the Capitol was thwarted.
My story is also one of hope.
Since then, I, and so many others like me, have been able to marry, have children and achieve goals that were just dreams 20 years ago.
Every one of those milestones represents hope in the midst of a deeply fallen world.
It’s hope in all the things we’ve had the privilege to experience over the last two decades, including the look of hope on our children’s faces as they imagine a future full of possibilities.
That’s the gift the heroes of Flight 93 gave so many of us. And we feel that hope with tremendous gratitude for the sacrifices they made that September day.
Call it an accident, coincidence or divine appointment – I believe in that sort of thing – but something occurred this summer that brought it all home to me.
After dropping our daughter off at camp in Western Pennsylvania, my husband and I were making our way back to D.C. when my otherwise reliable British navigator via Apple Maps – who I affectionately refer to as “Nigel” – went awry and attempted to lead us down a closed road.