22 Years Later

Brad Bartlett
2 min readSep 11

Reflecting on a day that shattered the peace — and set the stage for bravery.

Every year, this day seems to sneak up on me. As a middle-aged millennial, September 11 holds a strange place in my life.

Old enough to remember the unfamiliar heartache of that day — and the subsequent strangeness of the years that followed.

Too young to grasp the reality of the moment — often feeling a sense of responsibility and ownership over a memory that often feels like it’s from another time and space.

Either way, it was a defining moment that cracked the facade of “safety” in the lives of so many of us sitting in middle school classrooms across the country.

We collectively held our breath, and the world became bigger, scarier, and much…louder.

This morning, my son asked why the flags were “only halfway up” at school.

“Because we are remembering a lot of people who got hurt and died when angry, confused people driven by hatred made very, very bad decisions.”

His confused voice piped up: “Were you there?”

“No, buddy, it was in New York — a long way away from us. But I do remember when it happened.”

Yeah. I still remember when it happened and how it felt. Sometimes I think about it, and it’s scary in all the same ways.

Could it happen again? Can we trust that it won’t? Can I raise my kids in a world that only seems more uncertain and risky?

When those thoughts creep in — and they do often — I try to remember all the people who helped — firefighters, policemen, neighbors — and I’m filled with a lot of pride (and a bit of American bravery.)

I guess that’s all we can do.

Remember to love and seek the best for everyone at all times. Be generous with our time — however much we get — and step into the gap to help when tragedy strikes.

Thinking of all those who gave their lives that day and in the weeks, months, and years that followed.

May their memory drive us to create a better world. May we seek to fill it with a braver, kinder generation.

Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. (www.bradleebartlett.co) Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!