Everyone has their 9/11 story. Where they were when they heard the news. Or where they were when the watched the towers fall, or saw footage of a smoking Pentagon, or found out about the heroism of the downed flight in Pennsylvania.

We moved to New York on August 2, 2001. We had our 3rd baby on August 25th. Our first child turned four the next day, making three kids age 4 and under. And less than 3 weeks later, on September 11th, two planes flew into the World Trade Center. A neighbor called out the news to me from her second story window as I nursed my newborn in the backyard.

We moved away from New York eight years later in 2009. Since then, I’ve gone back to New York for work a couple times a year, but no one else in the family had been back since we moved away. Until this summer. Maude spent her summer in the city doing internships, and the whole family met up in New York the first week of August.

Our August trip felt special. What a treat to get to reintroduce the family to the city! To take long walks with the people I love best amid famous and beloved landmarks. To show them restaurants and shops that make me grin, and discover new places too. I love lots of cities, but New York is my favorite.

One afternoon of our trip was spent at the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center Memorial. It was our first time ever seeing it. I hadn’t read anything about it, and didn’t know what to expect, and oh my I was completely moved by the Memorial. The size. The visual impact. The acknowledgement of each individual life lost. The feeling of reverence and awe it evoked.

Sometimes on September 11th I’m sad, or angry. But as I thought of the Memorial today, my primary feeling was gratitude. I was grateful for the creative minds who came up with the concept and vision and design. I was grateful for the committees who did the fundraising and managed the project. I was grateful for the construction crews who built it.

What’s on your mind this September 11th? Have you read or seen anything today that has stuck with you? Did you read about how children of firefighters who died on 9/11 have become firefighters themselves? It’s hard to imagine they are old enough; that so much time has already passed.

P.S. — September 11th was my father’s birthday. He died at age 52.