This day always seems to sneak up on me. I don't know if it's a conscious decision of mine or whether I'm just too busy living life. But every year over the previous eight years the eleventh day of the ninth month arrives and almost takes me unaware.

That Awful Day was nine years ago today.

Many of our children aren't old enough to know about or remember what happened. In their lives the World Trade Center towers never existed. There never was a scorched and burning scar on the side of the Pentagon. There never was that deep hole hammered into the ground by Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

For some it's just another day that also happens to be the anniversary of the attacks, something that happened long ago. But to me and many others, it was just yesterday. The sights and sounds are as fresh as if That Awful Day were happening right now.

It. Still. Hurts.

And we are the lucky ones.

Almost 3000 people died on That Awful Day. For some, the end came quickly. For others, they knew they were doomed and that there was no hope of being saved. It was only a matter of time before their time on Earth would end. And as they waited they called family and friends, giving them their last words of love, hope, and prayer.

Some waited in the growing smoke and flames until they could stand it no more and launched themselves into eternity and plummeted along the walls of steel, glass, and concrete to a certain but quick end. Others had no choice but to wait until their world collapsed around them, making them part of all that which once was the substance of the towers.

When the echoes of the rumbling and thunder of That Awful Day faded away, the dust settled, and the smoke drifted away, the world gasped at what had been wrought.

From the skies came death and then from the skies came...silence.

Slowly the skies emptied and then were empty. No contrails could be seen. No distant rumble or drone of flying aircraft could be heard. Nothing made by man moved in the air. All was still, as if to move would somehow deepen the grief and shatter our tenuous control over our emotions.

All over the world, American flags flew where perhaps they had been rarely seen before. And in a place that had helped give birth to America, red coated soldiers stopped in the midst of performing their duties, raised their instruments, and played the Star Spangled Banner. The crowds surrounding Buckingham Palace were stunned, for such a thing had never been done before. The Americans in the crowd sang the anthem as it played, even as tears filled their eyes and blurred their vision.

And we grieved.

Some of us still do.