When I taught over in Ireland, the people of that country had a saying: When America has a cold, the rest of the world sneezes. Today that sentiment could not hold any more truth than it does already.
I was a fifteen-year-old sophomore sitting in my second period study hall when our principal made the announcement. At the time I didn't understand the magnitude of what had happened, mainly because our study hall was in the cafeteria and I couldn't see the fire and smoke plaguing the streets of New York City; I couldn't see first-hand how the world was changing.
As the day continued to etch itself in our classrooms' history books, I became ridden with grief and anxiety over the thoughts of those fireman and police officers, office workers simply trying to get through another Tuesday, and run-of-the-mill Joes trying to catch a ride home not being able to have dinner witht heir families that night; not being able to see their sons hit their first little league homeruns or walk their daughters down the aisle on their weddings days; not being able to, for one last time, tell their husbands and wives that they love them and want them to live happy lives without them.
The secretary made constant announcements throughout the day for students to report to the office. Their parents were there, in tears, to take them home. My mother came around seventh period, in tears, and held me tighter than I have ever cared to remember. Typically I would refute such a request citing my fifteen-year-old self-righteous and naive abilities to take care of myself, but I obliged. Besides, on that day I needed her to hold my hand as much as she needed me to hold hers.
And that night, all across our country, families held each other close and spoke a little less as we counted our blessings and mourned.
Look, to those of you that know me well enough know that I don't exactly see eye-to-eye with our country and am not the foremost patriot. There are a thousand and one changes I'd make to anything and everything wrong with our country from public transportation and tax cuts to healthcare and welfare.
None of that matters today.
What our country needs today is for everyone to hold each other a little closer, speak a little less, and count our blessings.