Today we took a drive to the Oregon coast. It included a beautiful hike to Cascade Head (including the killer views you see above) and a drive to the beach to show Frank the Pacific Ocean.
Anyone in need of a running back? He always has two hands on the ball and sometimes even his mouth. He still has all four years of college eligibility too.
I guess Carly Rae Jepson is good for something. This song has been working miracles in our house for over a year.
Its only fitting that I will be headed back to Boston College tonight. It is the place I was when the September 11 attacks happened.
The following is a repost from an entry I made on September 11, 2006. This was five years after the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers in New York City.
I do not talk about September 11, 2001 very often. But since today is the fifth anniversary of that tragic day I just want to say a few things. I remember 9.11 like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore at Boston College when I found out about what happened. I woke up to get ready for a philosophy class, Romanticism and Idealism, when I received an instant message from my friend, Ian Cain, telling me to turn on the TV. He said, and I believe this is a direct quote, “New York is blowing up!” When I turned on the TV I saw nothing but a light-gray smoke billowing from the upper portion of one of the towers. My first thought was, “Goodness, another bombing.” Then I went to brush my teeth. When I got back to the room I kept watching the TV and saw the second plane hit. I had no idea what happened and all I saw was even more smoke. Then I woke up my roommate and made him watch. For some reason I had woken up early that day so I watched for probably another 45 minutes and made my way to class.
Not everyone in class knew what happened. About four of us attempted to explain to the class and the professor what happened but no one was sure what was going on. So we spent the class time discussing romanticism and idealism (one of my many philosophy classes) in light of recent events. That was the last class I went to. I rushed back to my dorm room to get updated on what was going on. I watched for another hour or so and then made my way to O’Neill Plaza outside the library at Boston College. The school had quickly planned a prayer service. That’s when I lost it. I stood in the back, just wanting to be part of the group there. There were thousands upon thousands of students, professors, and others standing in the bright, hot September sun. Many people were in tears. That is when I realized the magnitude of what happened. I had not realized how many people standing around me at that moment were fearful for their loved ones. Being from Iowa, I didn’t directly know anyone at the World Center. I had a cousin who worked at Merrill Lynch in the area around the towers but for some reason I just knew that he was fine. What I remember seeing on O’Neill Plaza that day was people hugging, people rubbing the backs of friends who were in tears, people with their faces buried in their hands. I will never forget the heavy air filled with immense sorrow that permeated the open space in front of the library. I vaguely remember a moment of silence and prayers. I think everyone held hands and said the Our Father at one point, but I can’t be certain.
That’s when I lost it. Everything going on around me was just too much and I started to cry. I sat down and remember looking around me at everyone else doing the same. As I looked around I was greeted by dozens of pairs of eyes that met mine and had the same look of sorrow. For just that moment, everyone around me opened up, everyone was just a person in mourning or worried, or both. I don’t remember people by what they were wearing, their names, what they were doing, who they were with. I only remember them as one mass of people, layered on several steps of brick stairs, put into the same situation and feeling the same feelings who came together to draw strength from everyone else. Just coming together as that group helped everyone through the tragedy.
To this day, I cannot help but be impressed and awed by my experience Boston College on September, 11, 2001. So many people coming together so quickly sharing completely in each other feelings. Thousands of people together looking for support while simultaneously offering their support to everyone just by being there. It was a powerful experience that helped me through a difficult time. No one, including me, was ashamed of having their private emotions on public display, something that is increasingly rare.
The rest of the day is a bit of a fog though. I remember hearing and seeing fighter jets in the air. This was the time before everyone owned a mobile phone so I remember my mom and dad calling my dorm room just to make sure that all was alright. They were really worried, I remember that. For some reason it never crossed my mind that my parents, 1,200 miles away would think I was in danger. In the coming days I learned that some of the terrorists on the flights out of Boston stayed at a hotel a few miles from where I lived.
That is about all I remember of that day. It was mostly spent watching ABC news with Peter Jennings. I remember watching the towers collapse into a heap of rubble. I remember watching TV and seeing people jumping from the upper floors of the towers. That one bothered me. The desperation of that day will always stick with me. I remember the candlelight vigil we had on campus. I still have the red, white, and blue ribbon that I received at school the day or two afterwards on my backpack. I don’t plan on ever taking it off.
In the days, weeks and months after September 11, 2001 I remember all the stories about individual heroism. Heroism takes many forms. It can be something as small as giving someone a pat on the back or a hug when they need, something I saw all day. It could take the form of Boston College graduate Welles Crowther, recognized by his red bandana, who is credited with savings the lives of dozens of people while ultimately giving up his. It was Pat Tillman who left his career playing football to go fight in Afghanistan. Heroism was exhibited by those people who got a flight two weeks later (including my mom and step-dad who flew out to Boston for Parent’s Weekend). It is exhibited by all of us who have refused to live in fear. Heroism is remembering what happened that day.
The collective acts of individuals cast a bright spot on the United States that day. The American spirit rose up to conquer the tragedy and it succeeded in small bits. But it is these small bits that are important. So many people rose up together as individuals to accomplish so much and saved so many people. 230 years ago, 13 individuals rose up together and accomplished something great. Something that will be remembered forever. Those 13 individuals, in the form of colonies, came together, worked through fundamental differences and created the United States. The individual acts of heroism that occurred throughout the world on September 11 give me hope for the future that the American people can once again come together to accomplish something great.
That day changed me forever. To this day, I experience a rush of emotion whenever I hear the Star Spangled Banner. I plan on returning to Boston College late this afternoon for a memorial service. But this time It will be in a smaller area that has been dedicated to those Boston College alumni who lost their lives that day.
If anyone reading this would like to share his or her thoughts or memories of September 11 please email me at email@example.com and I would be honored to post them throughout the coming days.
Jen: You were wasted last night.
Me: Why do you say that?
Jen: Because you kept saying you loved me.
My mom and I took Frank to the Franklin Park Zoo today. He was a champ and lasted about two hours. We learned that he enjoys running around zoos and is more interested in the bolt connected to glass in the gorilla enclosure than the gorilla sitting five feet away from him. He likes giraffes and isn’t afraid of friendly goats. Waterfalls fascinate him. He also likes pushing his own stroller and got quite the workout. This bodes well for our trip to Chicago in a few weeks.
After last weekend’s impromptu hike at the Blue Hills Reservation south of Boston we decided that this morning we would hike to the top of the Great Blue Hill. Well we did it and it wasn’t too bad. The hike ended up being about three miles with some pretty good elevation changes en route to the 635 foot Blue Hill. We took the Skyline North route to the top and the South route back. Overall, it wasn’t too bad but certainly had some challenging sections for novice hikers and those carrying 30 pounds worth of baby and baby carrier. It’s pretty much entirely in the shade and if you’re quick about it can be done in two hours. The path is pretty well marked too. The reward, as you can see is amazing views of Boston, the harbor, and south of the city. Also, I burned at least 500 calories, not taking into account carrying Baby Frank. Go give it a shot.