Alan Jackson wrote in his song of rememberence "Where were you when the world stopped turning?" As I reflect on that beautiful,late summer, Tuesday morning (so much like today), I remember distinctly that sensation -- that the world had stopped turning. Time seemed frozen. I remember at the end of that endless day suddenly realizing that it was 11:00 pm, all of the windows in the house were open, my kids were asleep on the floor and my wife and I had been watching Tom Brokaw for hours.
I also remember going outside, after all of the airplanes had been grounded and realizing how empty the sky was. All over the nation, the skies belonged only to the birds and the stars.
I often think of stars when I think of September 11, 2001. Stars shine their brightest when the sky is the darkest -- and that is what I took away from that terrible day. Mayor Guilianni said "We have met the worst of humanity, with the best of humanity." We learned that day that despite our differences, as Americans, when you knock our feet out from under us, we all land on common ground. We saw the greatness that this nation and it's people are capable of.
But the incident that moved me the most was a conversation with my (then) four year old daughter. After the attacks on the that terrible day, American flags, across the country, were sold and sold out. I was given my first flag by my best friend, and on the night I chose to hang it on the house, I thought it would be a great teaching moment for my daughter --whom I assumed knew nothing of what was going on in the world -- about the importance of flying the flag. As I hung the flag, I asked Jordan why she thought it was importrant to fly the American flag. She said "If we take the flag down, the planes will crash again."
After much thoughtful reflection, I agree with her.