Each of us remembers exactly what we were doing 10 years ago when planes crashed into the World Trade Centers. I was sitting at my desk when my sister told me about the first plane. I didn’t think anything of it. Until the second plane. Then everything changed. Like all of you, I knew – instantly, instinctively – this was something bad.

AKHIA was much smaller then, only 10-12 employees. We were all hearing the news at the same time. We gathered in our conference room and switched on the television. There we sat – mesmerized, horrified – needing to be with ‘family’ while the news unraveled our lives and unleashed our fears. I will never forget President Bush’s face sitting next to that first grader as the enormity of the situation punched him in the gut. I think we all felt it.

When we finally did go home to our real families that day, it felt like we were wearing cement boots. Walking away was hard. Walking toward our children who would want answers was even harder.

It’s hard to believe 10 years has passed. So much has changed. So much as stayed the same. I had the privilege a few years ago of visiting the cash site of Flight 93. It’s was an experience I’ll never forget. One I never want to forget. Seeing the faces of the children, wives and parents left behind in photos on the make-shift memorial was gripping. They knew their loved ones understood their fate before it befell them and I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind.

September 11, 2001 was a day that will live in our collective minds and hearts forever. As we reflect on those events of 10 years ago, I’m grateful to live in a country that, despite its faults, is a beacon of strength, a haven and hope and a place of freedom for all. God bless all those who died 10 years ago on September 11. And God bless America.