As I watched the sun setting over Puget Sound on September 10th, I listened in awe to the sounds of music and revelry, I was overcome with a remarkable sense of peace. Nine years 364 days and 12 hours ago, we as a nation has the figurative rug pulled out from under us. Yet at this moment, I stood listening to the sounds of happiness, merriment and joy on the eve of a most somber anniversary.
Ten years ago, a day that started like any other, ended like nothing we have ever seen or experienced before. Some people who were doing nothing more than going about the business of their day were unknowing targets. Others, who knew the risks, offered everything they had to save as many as possible.
For the rest of that week, politics were not important. We were no longer Democrats, Republicans or Third Party, we were human beings. Everyone helped in whatever way they could.
We’ve heard the tales of the heroes; how the ordinary became extraordinary and we empathized with the pain of everyone’s loss. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and more.
As a people, we have given time, money and blood to help. Songs have been sung, books written, and movies made. We mourned…
… and then…
…we began to move forward. Every year we commemorate the anniversary and vow to never forget. I’m pretty certain that we never will. We have been forever changed. People will always understand and know the significance of the date.
But beyond the remembrances, we learned about fortitude. We can grieve, and go on. We will not let extremist hate-mongers keep us down. We will celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and life in general. We love, laugh and live.
Those who perished that day know this truth; take nothing for granted, ever.
In the midst of countless memorials, tributes and ceremonies I was fortunate to partake in an event of celebration and resilience.
A simple festival of beer and blues music. Sponsored by an organization to benefit music programs in elementary schools, the afternoon and evening were not about tears and sorrow, but about hope and promise for the future…because that’s what we have.
And on Saturday evening, as the sun was going down, a blues band named Left Hand Smoke played while people danced, enjoyed beer and demonstrated exactly what makes this country so great. We prevail.