“Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”
– Todd Beamer (1968 – 2001), US Airlines Flight 93
I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. I was teaching a group of new Navy Sailors how to be Electronic Technicians in Great Lakes, Illinois. My cell phone rang. I didn’t typically keep my phone on during instruction, but today was the exception as my husband was taking our daughter to the dentist for an involved visit.
“Baby!” I hear on the phone. “You are never going to belive what just happened.” The first plane had just hit.
I put the class on break and went to the faculty room. We were all around the television when the second plane hit. Not good.
By the time I had regained my class in the room, minor panic had taken hold. It was obvious the accident was intentional. What would be done about it was yet to be seen.
“Are they gonna let us out early?” The question from a young Sailor surprised me. Then I realized – they didn’t understand.
“No,” I replied. “In fact, we may double up the schedule to graduate you early. This is why you are here. This is when your job starts.”
A day to remember, to reflect, to honor. Not in a passive way. But in a “this is when my job starts” kind of way.
I considered not writing anything today. Considered the idea of blank space in honor of this day, September 11th. Decided that was a bad idea.
I don’t think that honor is given in blank spaces. Honor lives in the action of what we do next to build upon what they did first and on what others continue to do today.