9/11: A Personal Reflection

By Dennis Buden

September 11, 2015

I remember the morning of September 11, 2001: A crystal blue sky, an otherwise perfect day that would turn black for so many of us within a few short hours.


Somehow, perfect, blue-sky days just haven’t been quite as perfect since.


It is only after the passage of time, 14 years now, that I can look back at that day and come to some understanding of how it has shaped my life in ways I could never have imagined back then. I lost no family members in the twin towers. No friends were aboard United Flight 93. Our family was spared in the attack on The Pentagon (though today I do have a good friend and colleague who lost a dear family member that day in Washington.)


Regardless, like so many Americans, the sense of personal loss remains tangible, the feeling of violation palpable, the outrage still wrenching. We were all attacked that day, and the very essence and fabric of our lives and all that we believed and held dear was changed forever.


Since that day, life has gone on for all of us in a much different America. For me, there was no direct connection to 9/11 when I started the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open in 2009, but I know now, looking back, that the events of that day have had a very distinct impact on how I view life and how I live it. In recent years, my personal commitment to honoring our nation’s veterans and public servants in a variety of ways has grown, as has my respect for those who, present and past, risk and have risked their lives to preserve and protect the freedoms we all enjoy.


I trust you feel the same way.


As we honor the 2,977 victims of these brutal attacks (including 471 firefighters, police officers, military personnel and other public servants), we have a unique opportunity to not only honor those who lost their lives, but to pause and reflect on that which is most important in all of our lives: Our families, our friends, our freedoms.


Today, tell someone in your family who is dear to you that you love them. Pause to reflect on the many blessings that you have in your life. Call a long-lost friend and reconnect. Surprise a stranger with a simple act of kindness. Give a friendly wave and thumbs up to a police officer while in traffic. And, when you encounter a veteran or active duty member of the military in the local store, don’t just pass by – stop, look in their eyes, shake their hand and thank them for their service and sacrifice.


These are the best ways in which to honor the memory of those we lost – and what we lost – on September 11, 2001.