Terrorists can’t have happy birthdays, ever.

While many look upon this day with heavy hearts, this day is forever a day of joy and celebration as I welcomed my baby boy into the world on the 10-year anniversary of one of the most significant events in history.

I would never trivialize or downplay the loss of life or importance of the WTC collapse, but I refuse to give another day over to fear, loathing and darkness.

As I remember those lost 12 years ago, I can’t help but think of the amazing gifts of life that have been given back to us. Thousands of lives have begun on this day since Sept. 11, 2011. We have an opportunity to change our world by shaping young minds and teaching them to keep terror and hate from their hearts.

I’ve always felt Cullen was a symbol of new beginnings; I found out I was pregnant with him at the same time my grandfather was dying at the hospital, leaving me waiting to share the exciting news until a more appropriate time. But all I thought of during those days was how much I would miss Papa Scott, how excited I was to meet my child and how disappointed I was that this new life would never be joined with the old one.

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Just as the snake eats it’s tail, life is a constant cycle of giving and taking, birth and death. The elation of creating a new life definitely lessened the blow of losing another. That message is more relevant than ever.

So today, I will pay a respect to the innocent people who are unable to be with their families, eat a slice of birthday cake or laugh their day away ever again. But I will not allow terrorism to blow out my child’s birthday candles. If I give over such a precious gift to a cowardly enemy, I have truly been defeated. 

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