Never Forget

Early on a bright Tuesday morning in September, I was in the middle of a cross-country flight, literally running from one terminal to another in Dallas, when, much to my dismay, my cell phone rang.

It was my wife. It was Sept. 11, 2001. I had been on an American Airlines flight heading for L.A., after all — and at that time, not much else was known about the first plane that struck the World Trade Center. I thought she had to be misunderstanding what she had seen on TV. Would that she had…

It’s been 17 years since then – and yet every year on Sept. 11, I can’t help but recall the events of that day. How on that day in particular, when family and friends were so particularly dear and precious, I spent stranded in a hotel room in Dallas. It was perhaps the longest day — and loneliest night — of my life.

In fact, I was to spend the next several days in Dallas — there were no planes flying, no rental cars to be had — I was literally separated from home and family by hundreds of insurmountable miles for three interminably long days. As that long week drew to a close, I finally was able to acquire a rental car and begin a long two-day journey home. During that long, lonely drive, I had lots of time to think, to pray, and yes, to cry.  Most of that drive is a blur to me now, just mile after endless mile of open road.

There was, however, one incident I will never forget. Somewhere in the middle of Arkansas, a large group of bikers was coming up around me. A particularly scruffy looking guy with a long beard led the pack on a big bike — rough looking — the kind you generally aren’t happy to see coming up behind you on a lonely deserted highway. But unfurled behind him on his Harley was an enormous American flag. And at that moment, for the first time in 72 hours, I felt a sense of peace — the comfort you feel inside when you know you are going… home.

Seventeen years later, I can still feel that ache of being separated from those I love — and yet, even amidst the acrimony of our current political climate, I’m still able to recall the warmth I felt when I saw that biker gang pass by me flying our nation’s flag.

On not a few mornings since that awful day, I’ve thought about how many went to work, how many boarded a plane — as many will today — not realizing that they would not get to come home again. How many sacrificed their lives so that others could go home. How many put their lives on the line every day still, here and abroad, to help keep us and our loved ones safe.

We take a lot for granted in this life, perhaps nothing more cavalierly than that there will be a tomorrow to set the record straight, to right inflicted wrongs, to tell our loved ones just how precious they are. On this day — as we remember that most awful of days — let’s all take a moment to treasure what we have — and those we have to share it with still.

Peace.

Add Your Comments

10 Comments

  1. Sandy Gehler
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Nevin,
    Thank you for sharing your 9/11 story. Even after 17 years it is still so fresh in our minds.

  2. url url'>marcia wagner
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and meaningful article.

  3. Nichole Labott
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written!

  4. Mark Osmond
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Nevin,

    Your magnificently chosen words reflecting on one of America’s toughest ordeals, only brings me to believe SO strongly in the strength of the Union of our wonderful US of A. We are blessed with one of the most staggering pieces of land on the planet, that has developed into America, but it is truly about the people that makes this Nation what it is and hopefully, what it shall be for our children. The strength, determination, willingness to help each other and pull for the greater good, is what I believe distinguishes US. May we never forget that our freedoms have been won and maintained by that attitude, and allow our difference’s to be discussed and rationalized calmly and intelligently as our forefathers worked so diligently to make sure we had the benefits of structure to assure our future.

    Thank you,

    Mark Osmond

  5. url url'>Jim Phillips
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    It says a lot about the sense of community that has developed within NAPA that you are comfortable sharing such personal thoughts with us. As painful as it is to remember that horrific time, you’re right that we should never forget it. Thanks Nevin.

  6. url url'>Andy Bush
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Very well written and described, Nevin. Thank you for sharing! Times such as those stamp firmly in our memories so as the details are never forgotten. Every day is a great day to embrace our loved ones and communicate our care for one another…and yet certain days are greater. Thank you!

  7. Nevin E. Adams, JD
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks everyone for your kind words, and to those who reached out via email. Much appreciated!

  8. kimo2
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Nevil. You very eloquently converted my own experience and feelings in your recollections. I was stranded in San Diego. Felt the same as you did in Dallas for three days. I value all of your writing and reporting. I would only change one thing…DO NOT wait for tomorrow to right wrongs and tell family and friends you love the DO IT TODAY. We never know if we’ll have a tomorrow.

  9. url url'>Conny Saab
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Nevin, over the years i have always enjoyed your comments. the story on the 11th brings the horror and the honor of that day vividly to me. the horror obviously the mean acts of despicable madmen minds filled with hate vs the honor of seeing the heroic action of many people, fire fighters, police, ordinary citizens and of course the passengers of flight 93.

    Thanks for sharing your story. the message is right on – the time to express how you feel about your family & friends is now. tomorrow may be too late.

  10. Grant
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Nevin, this is a great story, very important and very nicely worded. Thanks for sharing and I hope we all never forget.

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