Whenever I think of September 11, 2001, when I see the images and remember the horror, my heart clenches and my throat closes up. Remembering pulls my emotions in two opposite and extreme directions.

On the one hand, it clearly demonstrates the depth of man’s inhumanity to man. I grieve for those who lost family members, friends, loved ones. And I wonder how anyone could plot and plan such evil.

My husband, Harry, was in Texas on business, scheduled to fly home that morning. I desperately tried to reach him, but couldn’t get through. Despite the lockdown at my children’s school, my kids found each other and my son called home, frantic to make sure Harry hadn’t been on that plane.

While I sat transfixed in front of the television, my phone kept ringing: friends, neighbors, family. Both my mother and mother-in-law, who’d survived the bombings in Europe during WWII, called, shaken to the core that such a thing could ever happen here.

But thankfully, fear and horror are not all we saw that day, not by a long shot. September 11 is also a day of victory, of triumph over evil. We saw the absolute commitment and depth of love of those who gave their lives to save others.  Firefighters, policemen, EMS, average citizens. Their sacrifice and courage live on as an example for all of us. They will never be forgotten.

Today serves as a memorial to those we lost, a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives.

But it is also a guidepost for the future, a call for us to live each day with courage and purpose and integrity.

Pull your loved ones close. Give extra hugs. And tell the story to your children and grandchildren.

May we never forget.

God Bless America!