September 11th

I had dreams all last night of 9.11
Not horrific dreams of the actual event, but sad dreams of the aftermath, like seeing where UA 93 crashed and thinking not only of those passengers but of the two fighter pilots who were on a suicide mission to take that plane down if need be.
I remembered the heavy silence that afternoon as I did a training run, a moment in time where there wasn’t the drone of planes overhead descending for BWI, National, or Dulles.
I remember thinking of all the work colleagues and friends in NY who were in a state of shock and mourning.
I remember running the Marine Corps Marathon six weeks after the tragedy and stopping, gut-wrenched, to see the gaping hole in the Pentagon, very aware of the fighter jets up and down the airspace over the Potomac and the armed Marines along the race route.

That was the start of my secret love affair with the Marines. Events all over were being cancelled, rightly so, because of concerns over security. Thirty thousand people gather each year to run the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s such a popular event that there’s a lottery system to get a race bib to run. I expected them to cancel. It was too soon after the most horrendous terrorist act on American soil for the race organizers to pull together the needed procedures and security to keep thirty thousand runners plus staff safe. We’d be too big a target in the nation’s capital that had just seen our Pentagon hit.

Clearly I underestimated the Marines.  They held their race. And for the first time since those planes hit the Twin Towers, I felt safe. These guys were dedicated and ready to ensure our Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And that included being safe to do the seemingly little things like run 26.2 miles around the Capitol.

Mixed in with those were dreams of how one act of kindness can set in motion events that can change the world, how one person can make a difference, if not on a global scale, then through one individual at a time. Mourn. Remember. Enjoy the little things that make life worth living. And resolve to be a light in this world.

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