When I was 16 years old, I opened up my poetry journal (because I was that person) and scrawled the following lines:
“I can’t think anymore; my thoughts are all gone.
I’ve used far too many of them too early on.”
The poem that followed was embarrassingly bad. It was written in a panic. Specifically, it was written on September 12, 2001, the day immediately following the infamous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93.
There’s really nothing anyone can say about the events of September 11, 2001 that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of those rare moments in contemporary history for which everyone has their own opinion shaped by their own personal experience with the day. It’s a day we simply can’t forget.
Even though I thought at the time that I would never be able to formulate any sort of rational thought again, I’ve found that in last eleven years, I’ve thought perhaps far too much about that day.
I don’t want to write anything maudlin about the day, nor do I want to pretend that we’re all over the emotional fallout of what happened. I can’t be witty and I refuse to be morbid.
What I want to say is this: It’s true that we live in a dangerous world filled with darkness, but we also live in one filled with light. I believe that we can best respect and honor the dead by living the best lives we can. Lives with joy, lives with love, lives with adventure, and most of all, lives with courage.
Today I live in New York City. I work in a high-rise building in the middle of Manhattan. I take public transport every day with a hoard of strangers who board the train without a security check. I travel by plane multiple times a year. I love my life in the Big Apple. New York City is my city of dreams and I love that my life has brought me here.
If I have any lingering thought today, it’s this: We must not be afraid to live.
We cannot be made afraid to live.
We will live.
Featured image of the Freedom Tower via Latino Fox News (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)