September 11th: A Celebration on a Solemn Day

9 11 Tribute Final

Today is September 11th and our home reflects a dichotomy of emotions.

A woman on the television solemnly reads the names of those who lost their lives ten years ago at the World Trade Center.

…our house is decorated with balloons and streamers.

Airports are on heightened security due to unconfirmed reports of terrorist movement.

…we will eat cake and sing.

Our leaders hold their breath.

…we celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

Today is September 11th.

It’s not easy celebrating anything on such a solemn day, but I cannot allow my daughter to be robbed the joy of celebrating her life. Still, my mind drifts elsewhere. I think about the lives lost, and I briefly question the wisdom of going to a cinema or a shopping mall in fear of some act of revenge on the anniversary of perhaps the darkest day in our history. We proceed. Perhaps our decisions are weighed a little move heavily. Perhaps I am a bit more conscious. I privately and publicly mourn those who died, honor the heroes, and carry on being a father.

That’s what Americans do best; we carry on. March forward. Advance.

We do not forget.

My daughter gets it; the day is no longer hers. An unfortunate lesson. A sad coincidence. A lesson in service, honor,  perspective and gratitude. Families were robbed of loved ones, our country defiled of its innocence and safety, and her day is overshadowed by the remembrance of a tragedy.  In truth, she would have it no other way.  I believe she feels honored to celebrate her life today as a tribute to so many who gave up theirs. At times it seems odd, and at times, perfect.

Yes, today is September 11th. It’s okay to celebrate birthdays, cheer for your football teams, drive your child to soccer, and laugh at a movie. If we didn’t, the act of terror would have succeeded and continued, and the so many who gave their lives so willingly, truly would have died in vain. We must carry on, march forward, advance, yet never forget.

At church this morning we were reminded to forgive, and I know that cannot be easy. I celebrate my daughter’s life while another father marks the anniversary of his daughter’s death, and yet, I know forgiveness indeed takes place. How do you do that? I am amazed. I have much to learn.

September 11, 2001 was an incredibly humbling day for me. It was as if Death itself had given me a glimpse of my own mortality, a reminder of life’s frailty, and an understanding of the horrors man can conceive and act out.  Yet within that shadowy bush of thorns, a blossom of hope and courage emerged like a single red rose, as I was also given a glimpse of the courageousness of mankind, witnessing selfless acts of every day people, stepping forward like the heroes in the comic books I read as a child. I saw giving, sacrifice, compassion, and the complete erasure of nearly every dividing characteristic. On that dark hour we were not aligned to political parties, economic classes, or members of a race. We stood together.

From the ashes of destruction fueled by misguided hate rose a nation united, determined, to advance against a common cause, to make an impact.

On our country’s darkest hour, I was reminded what it means for me to be an American, a Christian, a father, and a neighbor.

Today is September 11th and our home reflects a dichotomy of emotions.

Carry on. March forward. Advance. Never forget.

Happy Birthday Allyson.

Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

including corporations, schools, churches, conferences,

and anywhere people come together to be entertained and inspired.

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.