Is 9/11 our generation's Kennedy assassination? I don't mean my question in a cavalier sense. I mean it in the sense that all day today, people described where they were when they first heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center.
I certainly remember where I was – in our apartment, watching the news while getting ready for work, at first thinking it was a horrible accident and only later discovering it was terrorists. I remember watching the towers collapse. And I remember, later, being moved to tears by the heroism of the Flight 93 passengers.
There are heroes everywhere.
When I was growing up, I loved heroes. I loved action adventure stories about people who were brave and courageous and did great deeds. As I got older, I devoured the first ten or fifteen Tom Clancy books, and the Star Trek and Star Wars novels, which were fairly new at the time. My favorite TV show when I graduated from college was JAG. I dreamed of becoming a CIA agent or working for the FBI. I even applied to a summer JAG program during my first year of law school.
I always knew I'd want to be a wife and mom someday, but growing up, I always thought I'd have some exciting, heroic career too. That didn't happen. And now I find myself feeling grateful that I've lived such a blessed life that my courage has never been truly tested, that I've never had to make a life or death decision like whether to go into a burning building to try to save someone or try to take out a terrorist holding a weapon so he can't hurt anyone else.
As a mother, I can't help hoping that my children will be equally safe. I don't want them to ever find themselves in the position of having to make a choice like that.
And so I marvel at the women and men who have made those choices. They have my deepest gratitude and admiration. I am thankful to their parents too, for teaching their children well and letting them go.
I'm off to make a donation to one of my favorite charities, the USO. I really like donating to the Operation Phone Home program – 100% of the funds raised goes toward the purchase of international calling cards so troops can talk to their families. And while I make my contribution, I'll be listening to fellow USO supporter Toby Keith's song, "Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue."