Yellowstone- 9/11/2011 – Every morning I have the honor of raising our nation’s flag. Today that honor was humbling as I hoisted the flag to the peak and lowered it to half-staff as flag etiquette dictates. A small group at the registration office gathered, and a few others got out of their cars, removed their hats and waited until I was done. The tear on my cheek was a reminder of the date. Nothing needed to be said. We all knew.

16 years ago ours lives changed forever. 8:46a.m. on 9/11/2001 is the day we know exactly where we were and what we were doing. We have lived and relived the events, and will remember a time when everything stopped, instantly.

Our strength as a nation was questioned, but the resilience of the American spirit was not. Time goes on. Children born in 2001 are now in high school, for them it was another time, a time they won’t know. What they do know is we pass on a legacy of determination, courage, honor, and an understanding that we are in this together.

So…how do you memorialize an event that is both past and present? – J. Cleaver

It is in a walk through the 9/11 Memorial Museum to learn the stories, and the message behind the   Survivor Tree?


It is in a walk though a Healing Field.


It is in the peculiar stories of survivors about the red bandana. (Welles Crowther’s video) <here.


It is in the young veteran who sat down at the base of a flag and started polishing boots.


It is the wisdom and guidance of the daughter of a first responder with a family of her own, and her brother who followed in their dad’s footsteps. Port Authority Police.


It is in the child who asked: “What does that flag say mommy”? And she takes the time…  “He was a policeman, who liked helping people and was very, very brave.” The little boy  responded with: “I want to be a policeman like him too”.   What was once sympathy has become legacy.


It is in the blue ribbons reminding us of the heroism of the pilots and flight attendants. There are teddy bears  to remind us of  the eight children whose lives were ripped away too soon.  Tell their story.  Say their names.


It’s in the comfort  and blessings from other countries; letting us know we are not alone.

And 16 years later it’s still in the sound of Todd Beamers voice saying: “Let’s roll”!

Never forget…No.

Finding strength….Still.

Where were you 16 years ago today?

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