“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.” – Lee Greenwood

As today was coming to a close and I was driving home, “Proud to be an American” came on the radio. That’s when it hit me: today was the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Back in 2001, I was a junior in high school watching the news coverage in a classroom and not believing my eyes. Today I’m the mom of a 17 month old boy who has no idea how much that day 13 years ago changed his life.

My husband had mentioned the significance of the day this morning over breakfast, but I had been consumed with the day’s activities and not stopped to reflect on it until the song came on and reminded me. It’s sad how over time that happens with these things, but I guess it’s a part of life. You have to move on and can’t spend your time dwelling on and living in the past.

This line really hit me: “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.” I thought, holy shit! – such a small line with such a huge meaning. I’m free. F-R-E-E. Do you know how epic that is?! As hard as questioning the status quo and going against the norm is and as challenging as it is to live an intentional life – we get to do it. We live in a place that lets us live our lives as we wish.

Sadly, we now expect this freedom in every facet of our lives instead of appreciating all the hard work and lost lives it took to get here. As an alternative to getting discouraged about our “first world problems” we must be grateful for what we have. Yes, our children’s lives are going to be drastically different than our own as a result of September 11th, 2001, but they are still free to live their lives in a country with vast opportunities.

On a bigger scale, the song also taught me to keep fighting. It’s hard to live this intentional life questioning the status quo, but through continued persistence and fighting for change we will slowly see things start to shift.

Getting our freedom from Britain and forming our own country wasn’t done quickly and neither is anything worth doing. Good things take consistent time and effort and I’m grateful that Lee reminded me of this on my way home tonight.

What is the biggest takeaway you are reminded of each September 11th?