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September 11th is approaching.

It sneaks up on me every year. A quick glance at the calendar, an appointment, some kind of plans crop up. And there it is.

I worked in New York City on 9/11.

I was close enough to see it, to smell it, to sense it. For days after the attacks, it hung in the air. My heart hurt.

On the first anniversary of September 11, 2001, I went to work several hours late as I just couldn’t do it. I spent that evening creating a painted tile in memory of the terrorist attacks, thinking of those we had lost.

I didn’t know anyone personally who died on September 11, 2001. I knew of people. I hadknown people. I knew people who had lost people. It still hurt like hell.

The next year, I watched the coverage of that day. The reading of the names. The bells tolling. So horribly sad.

Each year, a little less painful, a little further away. Still stinging, less raw. I’ve been down there since That Day. I’ve held my breath. The air shifts around you when you’re there. The way it all makes you feel. Made me feel.

I haven’t gone since the rebuild. I’m still not ready.

And every year, I remember. We all do. So many thoughts, sentiments, emotions. But we move on. We go about our day. What choice do we have?

We turn off the television. How many times can we watch the towers fall?

We stop listening to the news.

We go outside and breathe fresh air.

We remember the blue sky of that day, and we feel lucky to see it again. We listen to the voices of those around us.

We remember, but we have to live. We exchange memories with those we know, those we don’t. Every year I write something. I can’t allow September 11 to go by without writing about that day. I need to remind everyone, remember myself. To think back for a few moments to That Day.

That Day, we banded together – more than most would expect. I hope we continue to do so. Every year. In honor and memory. With respect for those gone and those who remain. Lost without their loved ones. We try to remember, with the trace of time that cushions us. Let us forget just a little bit as we hold our loved ones closer, if only for the day.

Remembering as history changed forever.

And still, we go on.