On the 11th of September on the 11th anniversary of our countries most recent and memorable tragedy, people across the country shared memories of the day of destruction, if only for a moment before the clock turned to a new day and we were on our way again. While everyone remembered the events like they were yesterday, this year felt very different from years past, especially with the significance of the 10th anniversary. The fact that the head of the snake had been cut off and the wars were fading gave people a reason to hope in a brighter tomorrow, and as the day past by us we continued on like it were any other.
Life is like that sometimes, where we experience a painful and lasting event that never seems to go away, and no matter how many years pass we never, ever forget. You remember when your mother died at 50 from a heart attack, or a young friend in high school in an accident on their senior trip, but then some 11 years later you realize that its different this year and the feelings don't hurt the same. That is when you need to take a look at your life and ask yourself, what happened? Do I care as much about this or have the last 11 years changed me at all? Is this a good thing or do these new feelings of relief tell me that I could have done something different? These are questions we may never be able to answer, but if we are not listening to the voice inside of ourselves then we are denying ourselves in that moment an opportunity of a lifetime.
I can remember most of the hardest things in life I've had to face, but until July 2011 I never let those moments change me. Last year as I spent the 4th of July on the highest point in the the city of Portland, Oregon, I had never felt so low. Watching the fireworks from the OHSU sky bridge was one thing, but as I struggled with the fact that my 2 year old son was just diagnosed with cancer had taken the spark out of my life completely.
While we were outside of the solitary confinement of the oncology unit at the children's hospital, and the hope for my sons life was smoldering like a wild fire had engulfed it, my defining moment came to life. With the ashes I had been left with, I would proclaim in that moment and for the rest of my life that I would fight to find a cure for children's cancer. Now one year later in the month that we remember the falling of the twin towers, I can't help but think about all of the fallen young warriors across the nation who bravely fought for their lives against this terrorist we call cancer.
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