So - September 11. First of all, it's my anniversary for working at CH2M HILL. I started on September 11, 2000. One year later Jon, Carson, Evan, and I were on vacation with my best friend, April, and her family at April's parents house in Cerritos CA.
We'd been to Disneyland the day before and were planning on going to Legoland and Sea World while in San Diego. We'd had breakfast, and I was in the shower. April knocked on our bedroom door to tell us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I hopped out of the shower, and we all sat mesmerized in front of the TV. April's mom pointed out that there was no time delay and that we were watching live TV.
We were absolutely amazed as we watched the towers fall. We decided to go ahead and proceed to San Diego--we just left a little later than we'd planned.
On the way, we saw troops at Camp Pendleton stacking concrete barricades at the gates and along the freeway. We drove in silence for most of the 2 hours, and the kids were ready to be out of the car when we got to the hotel. April immediately headed over to the newspaper dispenser so that she could get a copy of the LA Times.
We were at Legoland when the FAA reopened the US airspace. There must be a commuter airport near the park because there were multiple leer jets that took off. Carson was jumping up and down pointing at the planes. That night however, he was very nervous and talked about how he didn't want to get on a plane to go home. He said he was afraid we'd hit a building.
We ended up driving back to SLC because we had standby tickets and didn't think we'd be able to get on a plane. Jeff (April's husband) worked for SkyWest and was nervous that he wouldn't have a job when he got home. We really didn't have any idea what the impact would be.
So, six years down the road, I can't imagine a world without Sept 11. I worry about the time that my boys may spend either defending the freedoms that we have here in the US or fighting to protect others who are not able to protect themselves. I wonder how old they'll be, where they'll be sent and what events will lead to them going. I hope they are confident young men who will have learned or gained respect, compassion, and empathy for their fellow man; that they will have an ongoing desire for self and societal improvement; and that they will understand that while the world around them may be in turmoil, their testimony and faith in Jesus Christ will allow them peace.
When I think about what I've learned because of the events on September 11, I've found that I may not be able to influence the world's economic or political setting, but I can definitely influence what happens in my own home. What a challenge that is to be responsible for raising three young men who will be examples of courage, strength, and humility. What a challenge that is to find these same qualities within myself before I can teach or encourage them in my sons.
I am grateful that I'm part of a large family that help develop these traits. I'm grateful for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who provide knowledge and experiences that far exceed my own. I'm impressed by how much my sons can learn from all of them.
How's that for a challenge. If you're reading this, you're in the realm of influence for each of my sons. Do you have it in you to help them achieve what their mother wants for them?