Giles County, Virginia

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

George Bernard Shaw

It’s another Monday morning in September and we are back from a weekend of remembering.

The nation, and the world, collectively remembered the horrors if the 9/11 attacks. There were ceremonies and flag wavings and prayers.

Many chose to post remembrances on Facebook or other social media outlets. Yours truly did as well.

Several of my friends posted the moving account of Todd Beamer’s last conversation with the operator as he told her of their plans, and asked him to call his family, before joining fellow passengers in rushing the pilot’s cabin on Flight 93.

You know the rest of the story.

It was a somber day. At day that many reflected on what we had learned.

Or if we had learned.

I’m not so sure we did.

On a more personal level, my wife and I traveled to my ancestral home in Southwest Virginia for a reunion of cousins.

We had a good time of fun and fellowship, and a good amount of food.

It was good for all of us to return. Well, most all of us. A couple were not able to make it due to last minute health challenges (not COVID-related).

But that’s the challenge you face when the youngest among you is in her 50s.

Our time together was short, but it was important.

If COVID and cancer have taught me anything, it’s the importance of relationships, family or otherwise.
Over the course of the last six months, my wife and I have lost a total of nine family members or friends. Again, non COVID-related.

Circumstances and distance meant that we only made it to about half of the funerals. One does get weary.

But these things are important.

Likewise, reunions are important.

Many woke up on September 11, 2001 not knowing they would never see their loved ones again.

Heaven forbid that we have another attack, but we all wake up daily with no guarantees.

So, make the most of the moment. Make the most of those opportunities to spend time with family, to hang out with friends.

My cousins and I did a lot of story-telling and talking about those who have gone on before.

And at one point we were talking about how so many of them are waiting for us on the other side.

The memories were sweet, but none of us wanted to go back to the way things were when we were growing up.

We have a hope of what lies ahead.

If I could turn back time, I probably wouldn’t.

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