September 12 and My Trip to the World Trade Center Memorial

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write today. It’s not that I have lack of anything to write, but the words I would like to say just aren’t coming to me. As most of you remember, September 11, 2001 was an absolute tragedy for Americans across the nation, particularly for those in New York City, near the Pentagon, and in the small Pennsylvania town that saw a plane crash in a field. Hours of video footage shows the same thing- death, despair, destruction, and loss. Looking up at those burning buildings and knowing there isn’t a thing anyone can do to stop the inevitable is heart wrenching.

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This is a photo from a 9/11 memorial that my friend and I hosted and planned at the local veteran’s home. It made Washington D.C. news. Each flag represents a person who died. We had 2,997 flags placed in the ground.

Fast forward to September 12. There’s still dust in the air, fires still burning, bodies still beneath the ruble. But something has changed in the atmosphere. America is alive with passion and pride. New York wakes up with determination and strength. Rescue workers and volunteers gather at Ground Zero to begin recovery. Former President Bush delivers a speech using only a bull horn. For once we aren’t political party members, we are people united by our national pride. Looking to the sky saying our prayers and looking to our flag pledging our allegiance. Slowly, we begin the long process of healing and rebuilding. That day sets a precedent for the next few years.

I look back on that day every year and it brings tears to my eyes. It’s like the D-Day of our generation. A tragedy we won’t forget. The crazy thing is our children don’t and won’t remember. It’s just a day in history for them. With my own kids, I’m not going to let them forget because when we forget we become vulnerable.

A few years ago I was able to visit the World Trade Center memorial site. What an absolutely humbling experience to walk on such hallowed ground. You don’t realize how big these buildings were until you see the basement-turned-memorial for each tower. More importantly, you don’t understand the loss of life until you see every name etched into the stone surrounding the memorial. My only complaint about the site was that the American flag wasn’t bigger.

After visiting this beautiful site and reliving every moment of that day, I can honestly say there’s no other place I’d rather call home than here in my America. And this pride electrifies me every time I walk on such hallowed ground.

Before I close, I have to ask: Where were you September 11? Comment below.

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Medieval Times Review (and a day on the water)

Saturdays are always good aren’t they? Ok, maybe not. Luckily for me, my Saturday was pretty darn good. I went to a little beach near my hometown and laid on the sand for a few hours listening to music and eating fruit. The sun was strong and the breeze was stronger. The water was a great temperature and judging by the crabs awkwardly walking along the shore they enjoyed the sun and water too. It was such a lovely day.

A big surprise and unplanned event occurred when an older man pulled up on his jet ski and parked it along the shore. He offered me a ride on the river to which I happily said yes. I put on a life jacket and then got on the back of the jet ski. He warned me that it could go pretty fast and to hold on. He wasn’t kidding when he said it went fast. We were at a cruising speed of about 50 mph and going through the wakes of other people’s boats we hit 75 mph. What a thrill ride that was! Sadly, I have no pictures only a great memory of fulfilling my need for speed.

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Man in the right hand corner on his horse is our knight!

Later that afternoon a handsome boy I recently got to know took me to Medieval Times- a place I had heard about my entire life but never managed to get to. It was very theatrical! I was impressed. Some people really have a flair for being in the spotlight.

The performance began with the King of the court presenting each of his knights and the section of the arena they represented (our knight was blue). Each knight was then given several challenges that tested his skills and abilities. These guys were pretty good! Their horses were even better! Most of the knights had dapple gray horses as their trusted steeds. The horses also demonstrated their abilities in terms of obeying commands and dancing. They were gorgeous to watch.

After this, the knights were given more difficult tasks to accomplish including jousting. It was so entertaining to watch someone get knocked off of their horse.medieval_times_horses The effort they put into making it look elegant was incredible. I would have fallen off with a thud and then freaked out. I was never very good at riding though. The first time I got on a horse I got on backwards. Oops. That was awkward. Ok, moving on…

Finally, at the end of the tournament the king selected the knight he thought did jousting_competition the best. Our blue knight won! It was such a Disney “dreams do come true” moment because the knight then chose a girl out of our section to make his princess for the day. He chose a little girl named Lilly and gave her a crown, sash, and rose. It was the most adorable thing to watch! That kid’s face lit up the room. Such a sweetheart!

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Chris and I!

I feel like I’m forgetting an important element here. Oh yeah, food. How could I forget? It was quite tasty even though you had to eat with only your hands- no utensils! They didn’t have silverware in the 11th century so we used the next best thing. Our starter course was garlic bread and dragon’s blood (tomato bisque soup). After this course the servers brought out “baby dragon” for the main course. It was roasted chicken breast marinated in rosemary, lemon, and pepper. Additionally, they gave us the option of having a baked potato with dinner. The dessert was a favorite of mine- apple turnover! Warm, gooey, cinnamon apple chunks falling out of a puff pastry is just such a great way to end a dinner.

This place was really charming and lots of fun and laughs. People of all ages were there so it isn’t just for children. There were some frat boys sitting near us who seemed to be having far too much fun! It was definitely an evening worth remembering.

Tell me about any experiences you’ve had similar to this. I’d love to hear from you!

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