I remember. I remember the pictures on the television, the shock and horror as I watched the events unfold.
I remember that sinking feeling in my gut when the second plane hit and it dawned on me "We're at war... We just didn't know it until now."
I remember the body count, the mass of humanity trying to escape hell on earth.
I remember the agony of lost brothers and sisters in the public service sector -- cops, EMTs, firefighters I'd never met but were certainly "brothers" to me as a paramedic.
And I remember the next days...
I remember people lining up to donate blood.
I remember restaurants preparing and giving out food to the search and rescue people digging in the rubble, looking for survivors.
I remember cops, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, nurses, doctors from all over the country packing a bag and heading to New York to help.
I remember hundreds of millions of people reaching into their pocketbook to donate what money they could to relief funds.
I remember people who had never given thought to joining the military signing up the very next week to enlist, to serve.
I remember local churches holding bake sales and giving the money to the 9/11 fund.
I remember neighbors started talking to each other again, rather than just giving a cursory wave as they passed on the road.
When the chips are down, Americans bond together and rise up, as one, and we get it done. We can be a petty bunch at times, having a fierce debate over which pop starlet is the better singer, and we can often make mountains out of mole hills as we harangue over whether a given means of protest is socially acceptable. But we are a nation of ordinary people who, when the occasion calls for it, can do extraordinary things.
This is one such example.
These sailors will, truly, never forget. Nor should we.
This is what I choose to remember.