My Dear Reader,
Everyone in this nation knows the significance of September 11th, 2001. It’s a defining moment, if not the defining moment of 21st century America. A day marred by horror and marked by heroism. Synonymous with both brazen evil and profound good. Eerie images of jumpers and smoke plumes and fireballs and falling ashes were seared into our consciousness and splashed across our newsfeeds that day. If you ask, everyone old enough to remember will tell you where they were, how they heard, what they were thinking as the events of that fateful morning unfolded. We held our collective breath and stared transfixed at our television screens, shocked and shaken. Our hearts pounded as people plummeted. Our hearts fell as the towers fell. Our hearts broke as broken bodies were pulled from the rubble. We called friends in New York, collected children from school, clung to loved ones longer and tighter than we had in many moons.
Fifteen years on, the themes of that day still resound: great courage in the face of grave danger, selfless acts in moments of sheer terror, sacrifical death to prevent certain catastrophe… or save countless lives. On September 11, we honor those who died and those who dared to rescue. We remember the bereaved and the brave. We somberly observe this anniversary with tributes and tears and moments of silence. And we pray that God will somehow, someday, bring beauty from ashes.
In the meantime, we do what we can to “remember 9/11.” We pause and reflect; we stand and salute; we esteem and honor. Every year in our Midwestern town, a small crowd gathers on the overpass to pay tribute to the fallen. They stand on the bridge and wave American flags and clutch signs that say, “Never Forget.” And we wave and honk and our hearts swell, and yes, we remember.
A few years ago, Chloe and I started a new thing. On September 11, we bake. (This little tradition is also a nod to my dear grandmother, Wacky Cake baker and maker of the finest fudge in the land, who was born on… you guessed it… September 11.) We deliver these homemade goodies to our local police and fire stations with big smiles and sincere thanks. It’s the least we can do. But it’s something.
Mother Theresa reportedly once said, “Do small things with great love.” This year, it’s four batches of M&M chocolate chip cookies mixed with gratitude and baked with love at 350F for 25 minutes.