Patriot Day: I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.

Like many who live through a horrific historical tragedy beyond compare, you remember everything in great detail.  You can see it so clearly you sometimes think it must have been a horror movie.  Surely it couldn't have been real.  I was playing PoppIt in between classes. Such a stupid thing, but I kind of loved it as a great way to clear my mind and have some fun chat with random internet friends.  That day, the chat was where I saw "turn on the news, a plane has struck the Twin Towers." I'll never forget clicking on the TV and watching live as the second plane hit. It was gutting and I was terrified. I was in Pennsylvania and at college and as word came in of the other plane headed for the Pentagon, I made the decision to stay in my apartment, call my mom and try to wrap my head around what was happening while glued to the TV. Over the next few days, weeks, months and years everything changed.  2,977 lives lost, thousands more injured and the ripple effect of heath issues to come, far unknown.  Security at airports drastically increased, we were at war with global and homegrown hate.

Until now, that had been what I hoped would be the worst historical moment I lived through.  

It isn't. COVID19, has become the worse historic event I have been grateful to live through, but it's one that we could have largely avoided. That's what makes it so much worse. We knew it was coming. Those that needed to be informed were, and they hid it, downplayed it and used it for political gain, all at the cost of more than 192,000 lives lost. The pain, anger, grief, hurt and questioning is indescribable.

As we move through each month of this horrific pandemic, our country becomes more divided with each other and with the world. Some continue to do their part and other call for "normal life" and it's at this crossroads we find just how many lack empathy for their fellow man. That such simple tasks like wearing a mask, keeping 6 feet apart, not traveling unless life and death, washing your hands, staying away from crowds, all help the collective "us".  

This fateful day, 19 years ago, serves as a solemn reminder of what true empathy looks like. It brings up emotions some had forgotten. As we wage a collective war on this new threat, remember that your small actions still save the lives of others.