The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 brought about the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans, who had their lives cut short by the cowardly acts of a small group of terrorists.  It’s difficult to try to look back on such a series of events without being reminded of that sense of loss, of pain, we felt as a nation on that fateful day, but if one has their sights set on finding a silver lining around the dust clouds of 9/11, you’d need to look no further than the bravery, honor, and sense of purpose demonstrated by men and women in uniform, serving their nation at home and abroad, that followed immediately thereafter.

Being the punk kid that I was, I woke up late on September 11th, 2001 – I planned to skip the first few hours of school and then come in before lunch so I wouldn’t be barred from participating in football practice.  While academics would eventually become an important part of my life, they certainly weren’t then.  I was far more interested in catching a few more hours of sleep, and getting a phone number from that Courtney chick in my math class.

When I dragged myself out of bed, I turned on the radio in my bathroom, and distinctly recall one of my favorite songs of all time, “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, playing as I stepped into the shower.  When the song was over, the familiar voice of the morning DJ interjected to offer the songs info, and a brief news update.

“And a commercial airliner collided tragically with one of the twin towers in New York, but details are sparse…” he said quickly, and without any real change in the tone of his voice.  I remember being dismissive of the tragic accident, shrugging away the loss of life as some kind of equipment failure or horrible mistake… until I got out of the shower and walked into the living room in time to see the second plane hit… then I got scared.