With so many reminders to “Never Forget” today, I’ve spent some time considering the things that I want to remember. I think as with any anniversary of death, loss, trauma, that there is a process that one must go through to be able to remember what’s worth remembering. When you’ve been terrorized, it’s natural to feel like a victim. Crushed, defeated, sad beyond words, broken. That is no place to stay, though. It’s terrifying and lonely. So it’s the moments when you rally and move from victim to survivor that are worth remembering.

Today instead of the utter pain and helplessness that I felt, instead of counting the loss of So. Very. Much, I’m choosing to remember how we as a Nation rallied. Lines dividing us disappeared and we became One, if only for a short time, and it was beautiful. In San Antonio, the friendliest city I’ve ever known, where I lived at the time, people became even friendlier. They began taking moments to really look at each other, to acknowledge each other in day-to-day life, to offer a kind and knowing smile because sometimes that’s all there is to offer hurting people, and we were all hurting. Despite the pain, maybe even in spite of the pain, it was beautiful.

Out of the ashes came resilience, unity, fierce pride, indomitable spirit, and it was beautiful. That’s what I’m choosing to remember today. That we are a people capable of surviving the unthinkable and loving each other through it, of being One. Even if it was temporary, it offered hope, and it was beautiful.

When I tell my kids about that day and how Evil tried to destroy us I will make sure they understand that Evil did not win that day. It’s a lesson for us all to remember every day. When Evil gets close enough to breathe on your face and tries to strip you of every good thing, we don’t have to let it win. Even when Evil burns us, because it will at some point touch us all, we can rally. It IS possible to rise out of the ashes, like a phoenix being reborn, and we CAN be better than we were before, and it will be beautiful.

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