If you look up at the sky at any moment, it's likely that a steel bird is flying in the heavens miles above your head. September 11, 2001 was the first time in as long as I've been alive that there wasn't.
It's been eight years since the terrorist attacks on America's soil. We all know this -- and still, it's hard to fathom.
2,752 souls perished that day out of hatred and spite. That's not fair.
When thinking of those days events, I find it hard to recall how it felt in the moment. However, what I do feel is the sense of loss. I understand it now. And although it's not of the same magnitude, a day like this helps to put my past eight months in perspective.
Between the dates of January 17 and August 22 my family lost four integral members.
Now -- I know what you're thinking -- that's nowhere near the same as waking up one morning on a September day in New York City to the death and destruction of your loved ones due to a terrorist attack. However, the pain induced from losing a loved one remains a difficult concept to muster.
I do not have the time to mourn those lost on September 11th, but I do understand how their families must feel. It's my dad's birthday on Sunday and it's the first one he won't be attending.
There will be no obligatory phone call complete with the birthday song. There will be no gift exchange or golf-themed birthday cards. His laugh won't be ringing in my ears after getting off the phone with him because of how loud it was. And in a nut shell -- that hurts.
As a nation, we must never forget the swift actions taken against our country in an effort to shake our spirits. As a young woman, I am obligated to take the past eight months and rise above them -- just as the American people continue to rise above terrorism.
Eight years ago I sat around the kitchen table watching the news with my sister, mother, dog (RIP Coco), and dad as the news played the attacks on a loop. We were lucky we had each other. We were glad we had a reason to celebrate life -- in particular, my father's 46th birthday.
Eight months ago I sat at that same table while watching the inauguration of our nation's first black president -- without my dog and without my dad. Nothing feels right anymore and nothing is the same, but if America can make it through the worst terrorist attack on our own soil then anything's possible.
Always remember, never forget, remain resilient -- strength is everything when pain strikes the heart.