A year has passed but only on the calendar. Sept. 11 will always be with us. We watched, stood still and were changed—in ways large and small, visible to the world or hidden away in the places where, in quiet moments, we think about who we are and how we want to live our lives.
It is remarkable that, for millions of Americans, our days again look much like they did before: We go to work, we play with our kids, we plan trips and pay bills and watch American Idol. At the same time, we know the world is different now. As we look for ways to mark this first anniversary, we struggle as a nation and as individuals to reconcile our need to heal with a desire always to remember and to pay tribute to the 3,031 innocent people who lost their lives.
It is not necessary to relive Sept. 11 to feel the pain of that day. We all saw the images, and we can still see them, even when they aren’t in the papers or on TV. Instead, in the following pages, we’ve chosen to tell the stories of people who, whether devastated by the loss of a loved one or simply moved to help those around them, have shown courage, selflessness and hope. To honor her brother-in-law Terence Manning, who died at the World Trade Center, Carolyn Manning created an organization to help new immigrants to the U.S. Wounded in the attack, Silvion Ramsundar, 31, has become close friends and spends family holidays with Doug Brown, 55, the man who helped save his life. Katy Soulas, 36, mourns her husband, Tim, every day, yet, with help from relatives and neighbors, manages to raise six children with a strength and grace that we all wish we could equal if we were forced by circumstance to become our best selves.
Sept. 11 presented Americans with a choice: to live in fear or to forge ahead. And we chose. We honor the dead by keeping our faith in tomorrow.