Ten years ago, I awoke to a phonecall from my now-husband, "Where are you? Turn on the TV." I could tell something terrible was wrong by the sound of his voice. I turned on the TV just in time to watch the second plane hit the World Trade Center. It was chilling. I got in the car and drove the few miles from my sister's house to my mom's house. On the way, both of the towers fell. The car radio was silent for minutes after the second tower came down. In that silence, I started to grasp the capacity of blind hatred.
This boy, Andrew Ielpi, suffered what I can only imagine is the ultimate loss: his parent. Yet, his story is merely one chapter in our country's book of devastation on September 11, 2001. The people who planned these attacks know nothing about these stories. The only story they know is their hatred.
As human beings, we are limited in our power: we cannot give him back his father, we cannot take away the impact of the four jetliners used as weapons that day, we cannot eliminate every crazy person who hates us. However, the power that the citizens of the United States showed on that day and the many days afterward is extraordinary. We set aside our differences and embraced one another's humanity. Jonathan Ielpi, the boy's father, was a firefighter who gave his life to help his fellow citizens. His heroism is also one story of many heros that day.
So, today I mourn our country's loss, I celebrate our heroes, and I remind myself that life is amazing.