The date of September 11 didn't sneak up on me this year. Neither did the meaning of the day. But the deep and intense emotion I felt did. I was not planning on visiting the Healing Field. But while watching the scenes of the planes hitting the towers on the History Channel, I knew I needed to go.
I visited the healing field. And it was healing.
I am part of that generation. The generation that was coming of age in the midst of 9/11. I don't remember much of the way things were before the the planes crashed and the towers fell. Maybe it's because I was raised in a very small sheltered town far away from everything. Maybe because 17 years old is still an impressionable age.
I remember that day. I knew I was not in danger. But I was so scared of the uncertainty. What would happen next? How was my life going to be different? And what about those people that I had grown up with and cared deeply for that just entered the military? My friends who had just gotten married and he was on his way to basic training and their unborn child? What about them?
It has been 10 years. So much has happened and yet it feels like it was yesterday. I knew I had forgiven myself for the choices made over the last 10 years. But it was time for me to forgive others. Time for me to let go. Move on.
In more ways than one the Healing Field healed me.
I don't cut across the grass when using the sidewalk will get me to the same place. But today I took off my shoes and felt the grass between my toes as I walked through the flags bearing the names of the lives lost that day. I felt a deep gratitude for not only my life, but for the lives of the people I love and care deeply for.
It was a solemn reminder that the number of flags at the Soldiers' Memorial continues to grow while the flags at the September 11th Healing Field does not.