Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reclamation, A Declaration / Sunday, September 11

Today marks ten years since the Towers fell and our lives as Americans changed forever.

The numbers are staggering.

The statistics from New York Magazine recount the horror, the devastation, the obvious and solid reasons for the fallout of fear and anger even a full decade later:

  • Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819
  • Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
  • Number of NYPD officers: 23
  • Number of Port Authority police officers: 37
  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
  • Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402
  • Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614
  • Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658
  • Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22
  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
  • Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39
  • Bodies found "intact": 289
  • Body parts found: 19,858
  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
  • Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center:36,000
  • Total units of donated blood actually used: 258
  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks:1,609
  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
  • Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

Every September since then, I am sick all over again. My mind is consumed, my body mourns, my soul twists in agony. 

This year, though, I had a revelation.

Today is an anniversary marking other things, too. 

So many beautiful things, not just in my life, but in the lives of those around me.

Events that not just underscore, but really define the joy in life itself.  

Today, for example, is my friend Matt's birthday. (HI, MATT!)

Matty is one of my favorite people. (Please, don't tell him though -- we don't need him getting a big head.)

See that gleam in his eye? 

It's pretty much always there, and it's comprised of the stuff that makes me think, inspires me to action and is usually guaranteed to make me snort-laugh in a most unlady-like fashion. 

Matty is my reason number one to reclaim this day.

Enter Mr. and Mrs. Sorgaard.

Twelve years ago today, they were married. 

photo credit: Gabe Haney

Mark is one of my favorite photographers, and I stalk him on Facebook pretty regularly. (HI, MARK!)

Mark's favorite subject, and his greatest muse, is his daughter, Skylar. Take some time to peruse the gallery on his website dedicated to her, and you'll understand why the Sorgaard family is my second reason to reclaim the day.

Finally, there is Mr. Max. 

Maximillian joined his family five years ago today.

The joy he brings his family is radiant and undeniable.

His mama, my friend Trish, (HI, TRISH!) wanted a shot of both of her kids on their first day of school this year, but Max was having none of it. 

He needed to express something else. 

Something that made a statement. 

Something out of the ordinary. 

Something independent, strong and solid. 

I think he accomplished it, and reason three stands before us. 

There they are. 

The first three reasons I'm choosing to redefine September 11 as my day of joy. 

Will I ever forget the lives of those lost? Of those who willingly chose courage, bravery and a sure death so that others may live?

Absolutely not. 

I will, as long as I am on this Earth this time around, think of them not just on September 11, but most days. 

As an American, it's now a part of who I am. 

And it's as an American that I reclaim this day. 

For the people who make me laugh. 

Who inspire me. 

Who make me think. 

Who make me reach.

And for those who make the people I love laugh, feel inspired, think and reach. 

Who make the world a better place by simply being them. 

Matty? Happy birthday, buddy. I still owe you a birthday girly-coffee, but this time I'm bringing the trivia questions. 

Lara and Mark? Here's to numerous decades more, and millions of loving memories.

Trish? Happy Mama birthday, my friend. Your fierce and abiding love for your children makes the world a better place.  

And to you, sitting at your computer, balancing your iPad on your lap, or scrolling away on your smart phone?

Thank you for being you. 

Thank you for being reasons to reclaim and redefine the day. 

1 comment:

  1. I thought I recognized that gleam! Lovely memories, girlfriend!