The Effects of 9/11

What were you feeling in the days and weeks following 9/11? After the shock, anger and sadness, I felt a new emotion...the desire to love a new life and to have a baby.

It was a typical late summer day in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was in my car driving to work at HGTV. The sun was bright and the Smoky Mountains were majestic as they rose over the foothills that surround the city. I turned on the radio and heard about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

What?!? The report was confusing. I picked up the cell phone and called Jon at home. He hadn't heard anything about it. So I told him to turn on the TV.

Within a few minutes, I was at work and hurried to my desk. My co-workers all had the same feeling...confusion. What was going on in New York City?

As we crowded around TVs, I remember my co-worker Mary Beth. She was at the hospital having her baby! Her son was born on 9/11.

Many women were suddenly in Mary Beth's shoes...mothers holding babies...and hugging those babies. We all suddenly had a reality check. What was the most important thing in our lives?

I think for most of us that answer was love. When tragedy stares you in the face, you cling to hope and love...

It was after 9/11 that I seriously considered having a baby.

I got pregnant in October of 2001 and my gift arrived nine months later. Jacob Sterling Vanderford was born on July 2nd, 2002 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

We chose Sterling for a middle name because it's Jon's middle name...and because it means "valuable." A life is valuable. And 9/11 made us all treasure life.

And now, ten years later, Jon and I are playing our saxophones with the Cornhusker Marching Band alumni during halftime of a Nebraska football game. In this setting, surrounded by 86,000 people, we let the music speak for us. Songs like "God Bless the USA", the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Amazing Grace" touch the crowd. And the piercing notes of "Taps" played by a single trumpet in a giant stadium bring silence. Memorial Stadium is quiet.

And then "amen" is sung from the band. The crowd erupts, and I feel the tears in my eyes.

Remembrance, healing and renewal. We've all been touched by the events of 9/11. May the love for your family and precious children keep your hearts warm.


Taryn Vanderford loves being a mom to her two elementary-aged kids, Jacob and Olivia.  Activities with the kids and a full-time job keep Taryn pretty busy, but in her free time she enjoys taking pictures, reading, Jazzercising, gardening, traveling and playing the piano for church.

About the Author...
Taryn Vanderford
Taryn Vanderford is an Emmy-winning journalist who currently works on "First at Four", "Pure Nebraska" and "Moms Everyday" for 10/11 and Gray Television.

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