United in Memory

Autumn 2018 is a very complex season for our family to put it mildly. As is always the case this is one of the busiest couple of months for business and the heaviest from a travel perspective. However, this year layered on top of that reality is the trial of Teagan’s murderer.

My job has taken me to some very interesting places over the years ranging from Switzerland to Nigeria to Afghanistan to Kuala Lumpur and pretty much everywhere in between. On this Continent I spend a lot of time in New York, Toronto, Washington DC, Chicago, Orlando and Dallas. When I am in the District of Columbia I am always impressed by the monuments and in particular the staging of those many memorials. However, no matter how many times I go there is always something special about going to the Pentagon.

For over twenty thousand people it’s simply the place they go to work every day and there are certainly aspects of it that are just like any other place of business (i.e. food court). But for me the history, power and importance are all palatable in this office building that once was the largest in the world. Surprisingly until my last visit I had never actually been to the the 911 memorial that exists right in the wing of the building destroyed that fateful day. One of my favourite artifacts is the one door handle that survived the crash in that area that is still in use – a special moment to touch it.

September 11, 2001 is one of the most pivotal dates in my lifetime and one that is sacred in my opinion. It’s interesting that we now have kids entering University today who were born after this moment in history. I lived in the Chicago at the time and I can still walk you through virtually every minute of that day. Since Teagan’s death I noticed a different sense of empathy and connection with the families of those innocent citizens lost that morning. In fact one of the first ways I had used to describe for people the impact of  Teagan’s murder was that it was our families personal ‘9/11’. At that time that specifically meant that on December 10, 2014 our lives were changed forever in ways that could never be returned to their previous state.

Now a few years later another aspect to that connection has evolved. There is a sense of community with families who lost loved ones due to evil and senseless acts of violence. This serves as an important reminder that we are not the only ones who have suffered the traumatic, unexpected, and immediate loss of a loved one. Not just loved but the centre of our family and one of the most beautiful souls on the planet. A reminder that although we will forever carry a sense of loneliness we are not alone, that even though Teagan will never return she is not alone in her sacrifice and that in the grand scheme of the 60,000+ years of recorded history honouring the dead and overcoming  the grief are a part of evolution.

So this morning I am thinking and thanking the 184 victims at the Pentagon for the lives they lived, the loved ones they left us with and the memories that will endure for the centuries. RIP.

-Gabe Batstone

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