We all remember the exact moment when we first found out about the 9/11 tragedy. I know I certainly do. It is still so vivid, it’s hard to imagine that it was 20 years ago. And by many measures, I was still just a kid at that time. For those that forget how quickly things change, let me set the stage. It was a simpler time, before social media, before texts, before cell phones were an extension of our bodies. News travelled by word of mouth, not tweets, posts or live-streaming video. Sitting in my first period English class, the rest of my classmates and I were oblivious to what was going on only about 70 miles from where we sat. America was under attack, and we had no idea.
I have written before about how much I enjoy living in our Pawson Park neighborhood in Branford. The area has all the ingredients to live a beautiful life. The views of the Branford River with the boating traffic melts your cares away. The sunsets are breathtaking and there is always something to look at that grabs your attention. Watching the seagulls and ospreys dive for fish never gets old. An occasional hawk can be seen circling overhead looking for its next meal. People in kayaks and on stand-up paddle boards are always meandering by enjoying all that life on the river has to offer. As beautiful as the scenery is and as calming of setting that it is and how much there is to look at, none of those items measure up to one of the best parts of the neighborhood, the neighbors. After all, you need neighbors to have a neighborhood.
What do most 18-year-old kids want for their birthday? As you become an older teenager, wanting specific gifts becomes more difficult. When I was a kid, I would get a toys-r-us or Walmart catalog, go through it and circle the toys I thought were cool. As I got older, I would ask for certain electronics, clothes, shoes, and money! For my 18th birthday I decided I wanted to do something different, something not many people get to (or want to) experience. I have always loved thrill, speed, and rollercoasters. So, I figured, what is the most thrilling experience I can think of. Let’s go skydiving!