Like you, I remember that day and the days that followed immediately afterward. It’s an impossible time to forget. The memories are etched in my mind.
At the time, I was the General Manager of the Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in Roanoke, Texas, a role I had been promoted to a little over a year earlier. Traditionally a dinner-only restaurant, we had just begun serving lunch earlier that Spring. We were blessed to have a superb staff, tightly-knit, who loved and cared about one another. We had the best customers in the world. They came from all over the globe. We served everyday people and celebrities. I had met the love of my life. I had begun building a new house. Life was good.
That morning, when the planes hit the Twin Towers, the world changed. Going forward, none of our lives would ever be the same. The normally bustling skies above us were suddenly silent. The streets, typically jammed with traffic, lay still. Overwhelmed with shock, words failed us. Our emotions were a giant, jumbled mess. We didn’t know what to feel or if we could feel at all.
Uncomfortable Numbness overwhelmed us.
A sea of employees, friends & family, local townsfolk, government officials, the famous and not famous, and ordinary passers-by gathered in front of our store. We huddled in a circle and prayed, standing as one. We sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘America the Beautiful.’ For the longest time, we stood silently, holding hands. We hugged. We cried. We grieved.
Our lives were shattered, but our spirit remained unbroken. Determined to dust ourselves off and go on, we didn’t want hate or fear to rule the remainder of our days. Amid our differences, we stood united, firm in our belief that America was the greatest country on the planet. Land of the free, home of the Brave. We agreed that evil and terror should not win. It would not. It could not. We mourned the lives lost and grieved for the families they had left behind.
Then, as the days passed, we pressed on. We moved forward. Changed, yet filled with a hope of better days ahead, vowing to never forget the day that broke our hearts but bolstered our spirit.
Never forget. 9.11.2001