On this day, 14 years ago, 2983 lives were taken from this world. On that day, all of us were a part of one of the most impactful events in US and World History. And while 2983 lives were cut short by a senseless act of terror, we all died that day. Not physically, but rather a different kind of death.
And while often, these markers in our lives can be the day that everything changed, that everything turned around, sometimes that lesson fades a little more with each day.
I personally didn’t know anyone in the buildings or planes that day. I know families and loved ones who did, and all were devastated by the senseless loss. However, when we consider the ripple effect of all who were taken that day, assuming that each person knew just 500 people, we are all but two steps away from someone who lost their life on that day.
We were all impacted and changed on that day. But as I look around, I’m grieved by the question “Was it for the better?”
Much has changed in the last 14 years. For me, I was so impacted by the idea that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, that 6 days after the tragedy I proposed to my wife. In those 14 years, we’ve had ups and downs, tripled the size of our family (if you count the mutts into the mix) lived in 4 different places, had a half dozen career changes, and survived some difficult challenges.
But with those changes and challenges, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. It never is. It never will be. Tomorrow may not come.
And yet, when I look at the world around us, despite all the changes we go through on a daily basis, have things changed for the better? Sadly, I have to say no.
Some have. I see the world being more open to possibility. I see a new way of communicating. There are a number of positive moves where the walls of opinion have been torn down and the ability to share, discuss, disagree and understand each other exist like no other time in history.
But with those same channels of communication, we still see the roots of evil. We see the heart of fear, the mind of oppression, the hands of hatred. So I ask again, “have we changed for the better?”
2983 lives were gone in a moment. 2983 people, loved ones, parents, children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, coworkers, friends. Gone. And while we say “Never Forget”, do we LIVE “Never Forget”?
As time marches on, no matter how many times we see the images of the planes impact, the buildings billowing smoke, or their eventual collapse, the memory sadly fades. Maybe not for all of us, and certainly not of the people who died, or even that they lived. But the memory of the impact on our lives fades. As does the idea that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
We continue to live just below our potential, never quite pushing those last few feet to victory.
We hold back our love and appreciation for what and who we have thinking that “they know.”
We wait for tomorrow, for next month, for the new year, to get started and never take the leap to make it happen today.
Let me remind you that Tomorrow is NOT GUARANTEED! There is no “tomorrow” on your calendar. Only today. And you only get one shot at it.
An uncle shared something this morning that was beautifully written about being on “the back 9 of life”. It was about how time moves so quickly and can often slip away until it’s nearly too late to do anything about the hopes and dreams that we have. It ended with a remarkable line that read like this “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you’ll ever be, so enjoy this day while it lasts.”
So what do we wait for? Why do we choose to live small? Why do we forget to live like we “Never Forget”? Why do we forget that this is it, this is the time, now is the only now we have?
Let’s not forget. Let’s just not. Enough is enough. We need to seize the day. And the next. And the next.
Let’s instead be bold, and live a life of remembrance. A life that lives the legacy of those that came before us, and those that follow in our footsteps.
This is not about patriotism. This is not just nationalism. This is about humanity. This is about us, both collectively and individually. We make our lives mean something. So don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for later. Do it now.
“Never Forget” that tomorrow is never guaranteed. “Never Forget” that in this moment you have life. And “Never Forget” that you matter, so we need you to start acting like it.
Question: Are you living your life with the idea that tomorrow may not come?