Hugs to you, America

I hear the words September 11, and the hair rises on my neck.  September 11, 2001 was an ordinary day of work for me. Safe in my Iowa classroom that day, I recall how the news trickled in. The teacher in the next room shadowed the doorway and flatly announced that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. The look on her face alerted me to the crisis, before my brain could decipher what she was referring to.

I found myself walking cautiously into her room, as the images on the screen revealed the horrible truth more clearly.  I asked if my class of high school students could join hers, and as my students found seats in the room, I ran back to mine. I sat a moment praying for some miracle to stop the tragedy and for my brother who was a commercial airline pilot. Then I called his cell and left a message of love, and concern. “Please call me to let me know you are alright, I love you.”

The moments that followed offered more sorrow than relief, as the second tower was hit and the collapsing images were blamed on terrorist. It was evident that this whole nightmare had been premeditated and the eventual loss of many, irreparable.

As the tenth anniversary of the attack nears, the sorrow felt for those who were affected is woven deep into the threads of America. Our county suffered, our people wept, our government threatened. America, devastated for months perhaps years to come. The tragedy seemed to extrapolate patriotism in our nation, as we picked up the pieces and worked to heal our own.

Our family visited Ground Zero that following summer. The pain still evident and oozing out of the hole, which could only be described as an ruins, broken concrete scattered within, a tall fence holding the gawking public without.  I held my children a bit closer to me as we walked away.

Each day is a gift, each moment important, every human life a treasure. Hold your children, your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, friend and let them know you love them today.  Take time to have fun, to work, to serve, to worship and to cherish moments together.  Only love is real, this emotion alone can bring healing to a nation one hug at a time. “Hugs to you America.”

Maria Peth is a mother, wife, writer, teacher, and certified Angel therapist. E-mail her at:

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