by Melissa Brunner
I took off for a run this morning, blue skies, sun shining. It wasn't unlike the morning 11 years ago, when I had the morning news on while getting ready for work and saw first one, then two planes fly into the World Trade Center. Those brilliant conditions soon darkened, in New York, literally, by the thick smoke; across the nation by the realiation our nation had been attacked.
People who run are often asked why they do it. Reflecting this morning, I know part of the reason I run is simply because I can. I am blessed to live in a nation where I'm free to leave my home and log a few miles on the streets, feeling reasonably safe, not encountering road blocks or armed guards.
Of course, it's more than running. I am a journalist because I can be. I feel blessed to live in a nation where I can ask questions of and challenge elected officials. I vote because I can. I feel blessed to live in a nation where we go to the polls in peace to choose our leaders. I volunteer because I can. I feel blessed to live in a nation and community where we look out for each other. I keep an eye out in my neighborhood and report suspicious activity because I can. I feel blessed to live in a nation where we can approach our police officers and firefighters with the assurance they will help, not harm, us. I listen to music, singing out loud, because I can. I feel blessed to live in a nation where such expressions are encouraged, even if we don't always agree with the sentiment or the way in which it's expressed.
I could go on, but you get the idea. So much of what we do each day we do because we live in a nation where we CAN do it. The most confusing thing to me about that morning 11 years ago is how someone could hate freedom so much. I still don't understand that. But I do know this - I never forget because I can't - and because I can.