Sunday, September 11, 2011


I haven't forgotten.

Initially, none of us knew what happened. A teacher from a neighboring classroom had leaned in the door and nervously motioned to Mrs. Hickey, who left in a hurry. The whole class was in groups for some sort of project. My friend, Andrea, and I were sitting in the floor, cross-legged and coloring our posterboard. That's what 4th graders are supposed to do, they color and learn the names of the presidents and play outside after lunch.

4th graders aren't supposed to stand and watch two national monuments burn to the ground on a shoddy, 19 inch television in the hallway of their elementary school. 4th graders aren't supposed to be on lockdown for three and a half hours, not truly knowing if they are safe or not. 4th graders, young children, aren't supposed to contemplate the thought of death. They aren't supposed to fear for their lives or the lives of their friends and families.

But on September 11th, 2001, they did. We did. I did.

Standing alongside my classmates, I watched, wide-eyed, as the word "terrorism" defined itself, another thing that 4th graders aren't supposed to go through. No amount of words or illustrations could fully describe the fear and confusion that gripped our nation that day. The sense of security, innate to Americans, lay waste in a pile of steel and glass. Rubble and ash, littered with the bodies of the sons and daughters of mothers and fathers, served as a brutal manifestation of just how vulnerable our country really was, how vulnerable it still is.

Some cried out to the government, others cried out to God. Some did nothing, while some gave everything. But the damage was already done, the seemingly unstoppable Red, White, and Blue was brought to its knees by two planes and a handful of evil men.

I haven't forgotten...and neither should you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Time and again, I forget how blessed I am to have such wonderful family. God has given me two incredible people to nurture and raise me and two siblings to share a lifelong bond with. All too often, I take my family for granted, even neglect them. So, I'm going to brag on them a little, and you can be jealous.

First off, I'm thankful for my incredible dad. Not a father, a dad. Despite all the crap I've put him through, all the stupid things I've done, the millions of little things we've argued over, I know he's always got my back. He loves me, flaws and all. I've watched my dad fight and push his way through a great deal of stress and an even greater deal of pain, yet he always makes time to help me sort through my problems. Between the countless stories he's told me (most of them involving his less-than-civilized relatives) and just the simple, everyday moments when he acts like a good dad should, there's no teacher in any university on this earth that could teach me as much as he has. And there's no other man alive who has inspired me as much as he has.

I'm also thankful for my beautiful mom. God knew what He was doing when He gave me a mother who was both sarcastic and sensitive. Even though I know I drive her crazy, she loves me and makes time to talk to me about the specific things going on in my life. I've never felt like I didn't have someone to talk to, because all my life I've had my mom. Beyond having the same sense of humor, mom and I, both being the oldest children in our families, relate to each other on several levels. Even when she's down, she takes the time to build me up, and I couldn't have been given a better woman to raise me.

I can't leave my brothers out, because they've touched my life as well. They've befriended me each in their own ways, but I love them each the same. There's never a dull moment with my brothers, not a day goes by where we don't laugh together. They've taught me how to be a bigger brother, and while I'd like to think I've helped them grow, they'll never know how much they have helped me grow.

In my life, there are thousands of variables, people and places and events and things, all temporary, but my family has always and will always be there. A constant in this crazy world. God has blessed me so dearly, and I can't help but be thankful, thankful that I've never had to search for love, because I was born into it.