Wow, has it really been that long? I had to do a double take at the year when I was reflecting on that fateful day that infinitely changed the way we think, travel, and protect our families.  It's hard to believe it's been 17 years since the 9/11 attacks when al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.  If you're old enough to remember what you were doing, there's no doubt that you have that memory forever etched in your brain upon hearing the news that we were under attack. Where were you?  What were you doing?

I was in Aruba on my honeymoon working out a little bit on a treadmill when I saw the images on the national news flashing across a TV in the gym.  At first, I thought I was watching some sort of films like Armageddon or Independence Day when it became all too clear that this was no movie.

Once the details unfolded, everyone on their vacations was glued to television sets trying to find out as much about the incident as they could.  Were we still under attack?  Were our families safe back home?  What the hell is happening?  The crystal clear beach water and tropical breezes were an afterthought.

I remember a sign posted on the entrance of our hotel in paradise.  It read something like "To our American friends and family staying with us, we're so sorry for your loss.  God Bless you all, and God Bless America"

17 years later, most of us remember exactly what we were doing, how we reacted, how it made us feel and most importantly, how we all came together.  I personally feel that it was when this country was under attack, we rose above and we were at our best.

We talked to one another.  Listened to one another.  Prayed with one another.  We heard music differently, we loved our friends and families differently and we had pride in our country and the colors of that flag like never before in history.

So as we reflect on that fateful day in which over 3,000 people lost their lives, think about those first responders, innocent victims and fellow Americans who are no longer with us. Thank you to the heroes who ran into burning buildings to save lives, only to lose theirs. Thank you to the men and women in uniform who protected us then and serve us now each and every day to prevent these types of things from happening again.

I remember exactly where I was and what I doing 17 years ago this morning.  I feel blessed enough to be able to do so.