On September 11, 2001, I was at Head Start, and only 3 years and 9 months old at the time. And I would be lying if I said I remembered this particular day because I do not remember it at all. But something in me wishes I were some years older at the time. Maybe if I could comprehend the moments of the actual day, I would have lived my life completely differently. Not to be vain, but to be the exact OPPOSITE. I feel like I wouldn’t have wasted so many moments living in vain if I could have felt what the entire nation felt so strongly on this day in 2001. I feel really sad when I think about all of the innocent people who lost their lives. They in no way deserved this. And it’s just a reminder that life is valuable.

It is the simplicity in day to day actions that matter. It is not materialistic. It’s not even something seen. But it is the things that are unseen that are meaningful. Experiences, memories, love, grace, kindness, courage, happiness, family, and friendships. These are the things that cannot give away. These are the things that last forever. Even after it’s all over, the history of how you lived and how you loved are what can guide other people to do great things bigger than themselves.

The older I get, the more I start to recognize that 9/11 was not just a moment in U.S. history. It is was much more. It is the ultimate reminder that we are to live in a way that honors our freedom and opportunities in this country. And we are to do everything with a mindful purpose. Nothing should be half-assed or taken for granted. All of those people who are no longer with us, did not get to go home. They did not get to see their loved ones for an official good bye. They didn’t all get to grow old. They didn’t all get to see their children or grandchildren grow up. Some never got to travel the world or run that first marathon. Some never got to be the best version of themselves that they wanted to become.

The bravery of those gone too soon, will always inspire me. They were so brave in the scariest of moments. They are the real ones. They are the heroes.

So, I am going to forget about the things that do not matter. Like my broken cell phone. It’s just a phone. Life is bigger than a phone. Life goes by so fast. There’s more to be done here. Capture every moment as if it is your last because you never know.

I personally choose to do better. I choose not to waste another moment over things so small that won’t even matter in the next few days.

Life is strangely beautiful even in times of tragedy. Let’s learn from the ones that had to be brave.

#NeverForget this day in history because the lives lost in 9/11 matter forever and always.