So here we are, marking the 14th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. I was there that day, about a mile or so from the nation’s largest crime scene. Instead of watching on CNN, I could see and smell the smoke of destruction and death that day. One day I will share that story but today I thought it might be more helpful to think of the good we can do on this day and uphold our collective national pledge to “never forget”. These are listed in no particular order.
1. Observe the moment of silence at 8:46 AM Eastern Daylight Time which means for us in Chicago it’s 7:46 AM. This is the time the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
2. Fly a flag outside your home or wear an American flag pin. We stand united, and this is a great way to show your patriotism.
3. Spend some time with anyone you know who was there that way or was deeply affected another way, such as losing a family member. A text or email is great, but better yet, give them a call to show that you care, realizing they may need extra hugs or support today.
4. Go out to lunch with co-workers, friends or family. This is similar to #3 but this was a 9/11 tradition at one of the companies I worked for in the years following the attacks. Each of the managers would take a group of 3 or 4 co-workers we didn’t normally interact with and spend a couple of hours together getting to know one another. I missed that tradition once I left the company.
5. Watch a baseball game. All MLB teams with games on Friday will be wearing caps with the American flag on the side. These caps will be for sale and MLB will donate the proceeds from these caps to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Pentagon Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial. Even better, if you get MLB Network, check out the Yankees/Blue Jays game at 6 PM local time. Aside from this being a huge game from a pennant race perspective, the Yankees being at home at 9/11 is sure to be meaningful. Be sure to catch “God Bless America” for the 7th inning stretch which has been played since 9/11, usually the Kate Smith version.
6. Donate to a 9/11 charity. There are several. This list can help you choose.
7. Watch “United 93”. Okay, definitely not the most uplifting movie and we all know the ending. My husband and I saw it in the theater when it was released in 2006 and never before did I see a theater full of people completely stunned and silent at the end of the movie. I think it is so important to remember the valiant efforts of the passengers and crew who scarified their lives to save countless others. Honestly though, it is one of the best documentaries you will ever see.
8. Simply hug your loved ones, just as tightly as you did that day.
9. Listen to “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. This song inspired by the events of 9/11 always brings me back to that day but at the same time we go on, we rise above.
10. Go to church and light a candle for those who lost their lives that day, or say a prayer for them and their families.
11. Read some of the “Portraits of Grief”. To mark the 10th anniversary in 2011, The New York Times visited the families of those who died and compiled profiles of their stories, what they did, and how the families carried on. I think they are remarkable and you really get a sense of who they were and how they are missed.
Click here for this list of 10 New York classic rock songs including “The Rising”.
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