Remembering September 11 – Fifteen years later

Remembering September 11
Remembering September 11 at the Flight 93 Memorial

Remembering September 11 – Where were you?

September 11, 2001. Has it been 15 years already? It doesn’t seem possible.

Apparently, it is. Our youngest was in preschool; now, she’s in her second year of college. Our granddaughters are older than our two youngest were the day of the attacks.

Fifteen years – a blink of an eye for some of us; an eternity for those who lost loved ones.

Most of my peers can recall that day like it happened yesterday.  Our children and now grandchildren heard – or will hear of – the stories and learn about this event in history class.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, were referred to as the “Pearl Harbor” of our day.

Remembering September 11, I recall the fear and the sadness of that day. Our children talk about how eerily quiet it was. Such a pretty day, yet no one was outside playing. The skies were quiet as all aircraft was grounded. Towards evening, our neighbors gathered somberly. I remember how the stages of grief began to unfold: specifically shock, sadness and anger. I couldn’t tear myself away from the images on TV, and yet I couldn’t bear to watch. I recall how sleep wasn’t an escape, and morning came with the wonder of whether the attacks happened or it was all a bad dream.

It’s hard not to remember the day our world changed. Some changes for the worse, and some for the better. We saw horrific images and mourned the loss of thousands. But we also saw humanity and bravery at its best – strangers helping strangers. We witnessed selfless acts.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Sadly, it seems we have forgotten what it is like to put our differences aside for the common good of all. Once, though we stood on opposite sides of politics, religion and countless other opinions, we were able to push that aside and embrace our common humanity. Today, we let those differences define us and stand toe to toe, trying to come out on top of our arguments.

I have written about military life, patriotism and September 11, 2001, countless times. Last fall, my husband and I had the opportunity to stop at the Flight 93 National Memorial, a site so humble and haunting. A site where heroes stopped a planned attack on the nation’s capital, where we had also spent some time visiting that same weekend.

Remember September 11
Remembering September 11 at the Flight Memorial

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;” Ecclesiastes 3:4 KJV

It is my hope, that as we recall the events of the terror attacks, we recall the humanitarian acts in the days that followed. By remembering the good, we would find our common ground again. Instead of bickering, we would be compassionate. That we stop a moment and remember the lives that were lost and the life that we continue to live.

 “I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.” Ecclesiastes 3:12 KJV

I hope that we remember that evil doesn’t triumph. I hope we remember that even though tragedies make the headlines, that there is still good in the world. That even during tumultuous times, there are still people willing to put on a uniform every day – be it military members, police officers, firefighters or EMTs – to make sure that our little corner of the world is safe. That in an emergency, these brave souls will risk their own lives for the good of a stranger.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 KJV

On this day, we are remembering September 11, 2001. May we #NeverForget

© Lynne Cobb – September 2016

Remembering September 11
Remembering September 11

 

Back to School Almost 30 Years Later

Back to School

Back to school!

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.  ~Sydney J. Harris

It’s that time of year again, when summer winds down and fall takes over with the excitement of cooler temperatures, vibrant colors and the promise of delicious cider.

Previously I wrote about our youngest child beginning college and starting her new chapter. As she began hers, I knew that I, too, would begin mine. As an “almost-empty-nester,” I am writing new pages as I navigate this season referred to as midlife.

I have often thought that fall felt more like a fresh beginning than January’s start of a new year. Maybe the life-long conditioning of new beginnings due to the start of the school year has something to do with the feeling.

My own memories of fall have, for the most part, been good ones of fresh starts, new dreams and the old, decorated cigar box filled with bright crayons, sharp pencils, kid-sized scissors, pink erasers and mini bottles of glue. (My personal favorite were the pencils that were red on one end and blue on the other. Are those even a thing anymore?) I also remember my mom walking with us to school to see the class lists posted on the doors. The excitement and anticipation could either provide a moment of elation or anxiety, depending on your classroom assignment.

After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop. Click To Tweet

I hold tight to those childhood moments, and to the moments I experienced with my children. This is the second year that I am not sending children off for the traditional “first day of school.” I admit, I miss going out and purchasing new school supplies, finding out who the teacher will be, and snapping photos of the day. After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop.

But nonetheless, this fall is pretty darn exciting. I’m not sure if my adult children will get up early and come stand on the porch for a photo. Well, maybe if I bribe them with coffee and cinnamon rolls. I’m willing to give it a shot. If not, I will just have to take a selfie of myself on the porch. Hahaha – no! Because in addition to most of my brood returning to college this fall, yours truly here will be doing the same.

Back to school.

After a hiatus of about thirty years, I start my classes today. I am pretty darn excited.

No, I won’t have an old cigar box filled with supplies. I know I won’t be sporting a new backpack, but I will have my new laptop. No, there will be no locker for my books, so I am trying to organize the office to be functional for both work and school. No, I won’t have to go clothes shopping or look for cool and cute dorm room stuff.

But, what I do get is the satisfaction of completing something I started 36 years ago – my journalism degree. I have absolutely no regrets that I left school to get married, travel as a military spouse, be a mom times four (see, I can still do math) and have the opportunity for all the other experiences I have had thus far. I have lived in and traveled to places some people only dream about.

So why finish the degree? One, because I can. Two, because I want to. Three, because I need to.

  • I can, because I now have the time. All four children have graduated high school and have completed or are completing their secondary education. I know it is not going to be easy, but it will be easier than when I tried to return to school fifteen years ago.
  • I want to, because it was a promise I made to myself and my husband when we married that I would, one day, finish my degree. His encouragement keeps me going – especially when I had a panic attack after reviewing the syllabus!
  • I need to, for myself and my adult children. I want them to see me finish what I started. I need them to set goals and strive to achieve them, no matter how long it may take. I need them to see that it doesn’t matter what age you are; it is still difficult to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

I need them to see that when life gets in the way – whether by your choice or by no fault of your own – you have to keep pushing and trying no matter what.

I need them to see that in their own lives, when a chapter ends, a new one begins – that each ending is a new beginning.

I need them to see there is a value in continued growth, no matter your season of life.

So, here’s to an exciting new school year to all – no matter how young or old you are!

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.  ~John Dewey

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Have you thought about returning to school after your children graduated? Or, did you? Share your experience in the comment section!