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A Writing Salute to Everyone Who Lost a Loved One in 9/11 and Beyond

It’s 9/11 today, and I have an open blog spot. As such, it seems wrong to refrain from writing about the list of loved ones taken from us too soon in terrorist attacks.

I’m fortunate enough to say that none of them are my loved ones. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t missed dearly by someone else. They mattered. They matter. And they are missed.

By now, there’s been 15 years’ worth of remembrances. 15 years’ worth of salutes and stories. And 15 years of “I’ll never forget where I was when that first plane hit.”

15 years isn’t a small amount of time, but we need to remember what happened no matter how it’s starting to feel like ancient history to some degree. History, even the ancient kind, needs to be taught and studied and analyzed – if not for the victims’ and heroes’ sakes, then definitely for our present and future.

Those who ignore the past’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them. That much is evidenced by too many more deaths in New York, Little Rock, Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Orlando, not to mention Nice, Paris, Manchester, London, Barcelona, Hamburg, Stockholm, etc.

Moreover, those are just the high-profile, casualty-strewn terrorist attacks recorded in the West. For reasons we won’t go into here, those tragedies aren’t much covered when they happen (and happen. And happen again) out in the Middle East or Africa.

That’s why I’m sticking with remembering 9/11, no matter how many years pass. The same goes for the victims of terrorist attacks that have happened since.

As such, I’m not sure if this is a writing prompt or a writing intro or a piece of flash fiction. But it’s my tribute nonetheless…

I’ll never understand why I had to bury my child when I did.

She was young and beautiful and vibrant. Nowhere near old enough to understand how this cruel world really works. Now she’ll never know, of course. And perhaps I should be glad about that.

I’m not. But perhaps I should be.

They say that time heals all wounds, but I don’t feel healed yet. The membrane around my heart’s amputation still feels tender to the touch, bleeding both predictably and without warning.

Sometimes I feel like it will never stop.

It only ever comes out through my eyes in rivers of blue, not red. But I’m sure it isn’t tears I’m crying. It hurts too much to be mere tears.

As I’ve discovered these days and weeks and months, it’s so easy to throw around platitudes when it isn’t you who loved. Who loved so very deeply and truly, yet tragically lost.

Some people mean well, I know. They don’t know what to say, and so they say senseless stuff to cover their awkwardness. Others genuinely don’t care though, whether because they feel protected from such atrocities or perhaps they consider themselves above them somehow. Either way, they get to walk away in shoes that aren’t mine, going about their daily lives as if nothing happened.

As if my little girl, my precious baby, wasn’t savagely torn from my chest, leaving a hole in my heart that won’t stop bleeding.

If you’re the creative writing kind, feel free to take it from here if you’d like. As for me, I’ll just leave it on this last note…

God bless the mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters, family members and friends who lost someone they loved to a terrorist attack on 9/11 or beyond.



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