September 11–a day that we all have some tie with. It is one of those days we can look back on and remember every detail. It is one of those days that leaves us in a humble and grateful place.

I remember waking up in South Dakota and getting ready for school. My mom got a phone call from my dad, who was in New York at the time. “The fog,” my mom said. “Some planes crashed into the twin towers. Perhaps it was because of the fog.” No matter what she thought, I remembered thinking how tragic this “accident” was. When I learned it was not an accident, it seemed even more tragic.

I remember sitting in school worrying about my dad. I remember coming home and learning he was okay. And I also remember the video coverage on tv; it seemed as though that coverage went on for weeks. The flames, the people running, the bodies, and pain. I remember looking at it all as a second grader, with a somewhat naive mind, and wondering how the world could be so cruel.

Many years later I learned that my uncle had a much more serious connection with this day. He was in the city– in one of the buildings–and his life had changed drastically after the event.

September 11 is a day that gives me goosebumps. It is a day that I look back on the pain that our country faced, the growth and community that came from it, and the struggles that are still evident.

Today I want to reflect on the people who lost their lives, the people who saved lives, the people who still experience the effects day after day. I want to reflect on the mortality of life and recognize that this world is not the end. This world has pain and war and suffering and hate, but one day there will be so much more than this world.

Today I am thankful, I am humble, and I am human. Today I sit back and think about our country’s history.