By Lukas Eggen

I was 11-years-old when Sept. 11 happened. I remember riding to school with my mom listening to radio reports of what was happening. I remember arriving in class and my sixth grade teacher talking to us about what was happening. I remember being too young to fully understand the implications of what would happen, but old enough to be deeply affected.

This is not a political column. I am not here to write about my political beliefs or what I would have done or not done in the past concerning these events. I am here to remember.

I remember thinking, even back then, about the bravery people showed that day. To see people running into burning buildings without thinking twice to try and save people was not only heart breaking but it lit something inside of me. That if there are people out there so willing to sacrifice themselves to save another, that I would find a way, somehow, to live my life in part to honor them. Of course, being a middle schooler, that didn’t always happen. I had my highs and lows like most children that age do.

But I have tried my best to never take my friends and family for granted. I’ve tried to be a good person, to make the right decisions, even when it’s hard. Even when, in the short-term, it makes life difficult.

I, of course, have failed along the way. I’ve stumbled. I’ve fallen. But I’ve tried to pick myself back up.

We all have our share of days where we are angry. Where nothing seems to be going right. Where are our problems seem to close in on us to the point where we can’t see a way out.

But I remember. I remember that the shadows prove the sunshine. That so many problems that I face are trivial in the grand scheme of things. I remember the people who died that die who didn’t have a chance to face the problems I’m facing.

How many dads, mothers, brothers, sisters sons and daughters wish a loved one who died that day were here to face the “problems” we face today. For many people that day, the problems they were facing were what would their last words to a loved one be? Or do I keep climbing higher to try and help someone else even though I may not ever come back down myself?

Makes worrying about how we look each day or whether we have enough for the latest gadget to show off seem pretty small.

I remember the after math. I heard a line said, that America’s darkest days are always followed by her finest hours.

I remember the feeling of being united, truly united in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Now I remember feeling regret; regret that it takes a great tragedy for Americans to truly pull together.

Twelve years is a long time. There’s now a generation of children growing up who weren’t even alive on 9/11, who, like the big past historical events, 9/11 will be an important date, but just another date to them in a history book.

I know I’ve been guilty of losing sight of the promise I made to myself way back when. That 9/11 would help make me live life better and to become a better person.

But, I will always remember that day. I’ll always remember the haunting images, the bravery and heartbreak that so many people felt and showed.

And, though I may lose sight in the short-term, I will remember. That my life can be used to leave the world a little better place than before. That I will try and live my life in a way that would make those who gave their life to save others that day proud. That even though it was one of America’s darkest days, for at least one person, it can help inspire me to rise up and lead to my finest hour.

I may have been young. And I may not have grasped the global implications that Sept. 11 would have, even to this day. From the country rallying together to the racism that still exists today for people of middle eastern descent, Sept. 11 forever changed the world that we live in.

But, for at least one day, I’m not going to worry about politics or any of the stuff that has divided this country today. I will remember the bravery, the courage and the heartbreak that so many people felt that day. And I’ll remember that promise I made all those years ago.

© 2013 The Ely Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.