Another View: A week of remembrances
This past Sunday, individuals across America shared in remembering the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Somerset County.
Speaking at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., President Joe Biden said, “To all the families and loved ones who still feel the ache of that missing piece of your soul, I’m honored to be here with you once more to share in this solemn rite of remembrance and to reflect on all that was lost in the fire and ash on that terrible September morning and all that we found in ourselves to respond.
“Twenty-one years ago - 21 years, and still we kept our promise: Never forget. We’ll keep the memory of all those precious lives stolen from us: 2,977 at ground zero in New York; in Shanksville, where my wife is speaking now, in Pennsylvania; 184 of them here at the Pentagon.
“And I know, for all those of you who lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all.
“It’s good to remember. These memories help us heal, but they can also open up the hurt and take us back to that moment when the grief was so raw.
“You think of everything - everything that they could have done if they had lived to just had a little more time, the experience you missed together, the dreams they never got to fulfill or realize.
“I remember a message sent to the American people from Queen Elizabeth. It was on Sept. 11. Her ambassador read a prayer of service at St. Thomas Church in New York, where she poignantly reminded us, quote, ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’
“Grief is the price we pay for love. Many of us have experienced that grief, and you’ve all experienced it.
“And on this day, when the price feels so great, Jill and I are holding all of you close to our hearts.”
Speaking in Shanksville, First Lady Jill Biden said in her speech, “When we remember the events of this day 21 years ago, certain images are seared into our collective memory, yet even as we shared our grief, that moment affected us all in unique ways.
“Looking back, we remember the details like a slide under a microscope - the private memories that draw a deep definite line between before and after.
“9/11 touched us all; it changed us all. But it reminded us that with courage and kindness, we can be a light in that darkness. It showed us that we are all connected to one another.
“So, as we stand on this sacred and scarred earth - a record of our collective grief and a monument to the memories that live on in each of us - this is the legacy we must carry forward.”
Last year, I interviewed Payton Lynch, a 2012 graduate of Parkland High School, who was writing a book titled “Rise from the Ashes,” which explores the trauma of Sept. 11, 2001, and the triumphs that resulted from that day through stories and insights from 9/11 surviving children, such as her husband, Jonathan Lynch, and others.
As I read a rough draft of her book last year, I reflected back to where I was when I heard the news about the terrorist attacks that tragic day and the lives lost.
And still as 9/11 rolls around each year, it is hard not to think of all the precious lives lost in those attacks and how several courageous individuals on a plane made a difference and saved the lives of many others.
While Sept. 11 was a day of remembrance here in America, Sept. 8 became a day of remembrance for people in the United Kingdom and around the world on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
While watching CNN on her death and listening to individuals from the United Kingdom and around the world share their remembrances of the queen, one story caught my attention.
A news clip showed the queen’s former royal protection officer Richard Griffin reminiscing about the time he accompanied the queen on a picnic at Balmoral Castle in Scotland where they encountered two American tourists, who did not recognize the monarch and asked to have their picture taken with Griffin and the queen.
Looking at both important moments from this past week, whether here in America or in the United Kingdom, it is obvious the individuals who lost their lives on 9/11 and Queen Elizabeth II made a major impact on people around the world.