As Tom talked about Friday, 9/11 is a date that forever changed America and how Americans live. It’s a day where we all remember exactly where we were when the news broke. I for one was sitting in Foods for Fitness during my junior year of high school. Of course back in those days, not every room had a TV so we were ushered to a math classroom to be able to live in the moment with the rest of America. We’ve all seen the tragic news coverage, seen the grieving families of lost loved ones and then watched our country go to war. But how did America and the city of New York move on? How do people who have endured such a tragic, horrible, no good event ever return to normal?
I recently read an interview with Mary Wittenberg who is now President and CEO of New York Road Runners and was the VP in 2001 discussing why they chose to still hold the November 4, 2001 New York City Marathon. Of course there were doubts about bringing in a large group of people to the city and some people were scared to travel to NYC because of the attacks but when she spoke to Mayor Giuliani he stated, “of course the marathon will go on”. That is because life goes on. Still holding the marathon brought extra support to the city, which desperately needed it. As Wittenberg stated, the marathon took place 6 weeks after the attacks and it was really the first chance New Yorkers had to leave their homes, come into the streets and celebrate life. The runners were applauding and cheering for the police officers and citizens were given the chance to feel “normal” again. I use “normal” in quotes because life never goes back to how it was before a tragic event but you learn to develop a new “normal”. The New York Marathon helped the city of New York feel like they could and would obtain a sense of their lifestyle again.
Even though life moves on after a terrible event or the loss of a loved one, you quickly fall into your everyday, normal routines. By doing and completely these routines doesn’t mean you forget, it doesn’t mean you’re not hurting and it doesn’t mean that life is okay. It’s simply all you can do. The past can’t be changed but you can determine how you react and how you will let the events affect your life. New York chose to run on, to not let the 9/11 attacks change their lives any more than it already had. They chose not to be a continuous victim.
As Cheri Daniels said after the Indiana State Fair tragedy, “Certain events in life leave us in shock and numb. These are defining moments that reveal our inner strength”. Tom and I quickly learned this at 1:50pm on June 5, 2010. We also chose to run on.
Today, 10 years later we still honor all who lost their life on September 11, 2001 and we also honor all the soldiers who have given their lives during the past 10 years to make sure that American’s maintain our freedom. We will never forget.