Today I spent my day in the “In Memoriam” section of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It is both peaceful and sad, an acknowledgment of each life lost. Some bios tell stories of laughter, joy, and selflessness. Some tell stories of loss- lost futures, lost time, lost memories that will never be made. You want to do each person a service by acknowledging each photo, by viewing as many biographies as possible, by listening to and watching all the profiles that come up. The children that were killed on 9/11 are the faces that often stick out the most. Especially to kids. Today I noticed one little girl in particular, Dana. She had the most beautiful caramel brown eyes, a head of short, brown, gorgeous curly hair, and a smile so sweet it made you smile just by seeing it. She, along with her sister and parents, all died on one of the hijacked flights from 9/11. What a gaping hole all these victims have left. Another toddler was killed on a different flight- final destination Disneyland. The greatest sadness is in irony of her godmother’s death- she was on one of the other flights to meet her goddaughter in Disneyland.

As I listened to more of the recordings from loved ones about different victims throughout the day, it really hit home how good and kind so many of these people were in their too short lives. They volunteered and created amazing opportunities for underprivileged students. They gave away their last train tokens to let a homeless man catch a subway to sleep on for the night, leaving themselves stranded. They planned surprise trips meant for wedding proposals that never came. They continued to try and help wheelchair bound coworkers escape the falling towers, which eventually cost them their lives. These are some specific stories I heard today, but I feel like these stories are a good representation of all the memories of the victims. Remember them as brilliant and kind do-gooders. In their honor it only makes sense that we all strive to do more and be more to carry on their memories and legacies.

I had moments today when I choked back tears and other moments when smiled at the happy memories. I also tried to channel my inner light to try to reach out and beyond to support those who struggled to cope with the loss they were witnessing. The surrealist moments were when I saw the profiles of young women who were my age, 25, 26, 27. At the start of their exciting careers and lives, at the beginnings of their marriages and families. We must learn from their loss and seize the now. Every moment taken for granted is another moment lost forever to time. Love loudly. Seek blissful opportunities. Do things that you love that excite you. More sappy inspirational words that are cheesy but true.

Today, most of all, I was thankful for the opportunity to help people search for their loved ones or friends, or just any profile to watch so visitors could honor the victims in their own way. Today was a good day because it felt like I had purpose.

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