Eleven years and two days ago, the sun shone on a very dark day. It was the day that changed all of our lives forever.
When will Sept. 11 ever go back to being just a day in a month? Never, I fear.
Because I cannot imagine a time when that particular date won't bring a wave of sadness over me - and most everyone in the country, I suppose.
And, while I was driving through Hubbard the other day on my way to a meeting, I noticed a plain black and white sign with a simple message about that day. It read: "9.11.01 - Forget me NOT."
Forget it? Sept. 11? Who could?
Certainly not anyone I know. To me, it will always be the day that my baby boy wandered around the house far too long into the afternoon wearing his footed pajamas and clutching his Barney videotape thanks to his mother's preoccupation with the breaking news on practically every channel in the free universe.
It will always be the day that I hugged Kyle 897 times and talked to my sister on the phone every eight minutes as we decided whether or not I (who was working from home at the time) should pick up her kids from school early or if it was safer to let them stay where they were.
It will always be the day that I talked to my friend Lisa for the entire duration of time that the Twin Towers burned - the day I told her the World Trade Center could never crumble and the day she assured me it would.
Sept. 11 will always be the day that I was afraid in my own neighborhood, on my own street, in my own house - and for a little while, of my own shadow.
Sept. 11 was also the day that solidified my dislike for one of my formerly all-time favorite songs "What a Wonderful World." You see, it was the first song I heard on the radio after all the horror of Sept. 11. Ironically, it had been the first song I heard on the radio after learning of Princess Diana's death, too. To this day, I cannot hear that song without crying. Wonderful? Not on those days.
In fact, it was the day I felt that the world into which I'd brought my little boy some 21 months before was anything but wonderful.
The day that I realized how very much I love my family, my friends, my country. The day I discovered that security is not an absolute but that super heroes really do exist.
It was the day that I truly listened to every word of the hymn "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and finally understood its significance.
No, I will never forget Sept. 11 or what I was doing the very moment I watched the second plane hit the first tower live on television.
I will never forget that 3,000 innocent lives were stolen and that, in the face of the most unimaginable terrorist attack on our soil, ordinary people gave of themselves in the most selflessly extraordinary ways possible.
Yes, thanks to Sept. 11, I will never forget that it is the way I treat others - every day - that really matters.
Today, tomorrow, Tuesday and always: let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.