Each birthday is a reminder to be grateful
Craig Morris' 43rd birthday on Sunday won't be a time for celebration, but for reflection and a renewed sense of appreciation for those who help keep this country safe.
How 6 local lives changed after 9/11
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The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, caused profound shock, horror, fear, anger and sorrow for Americans — and for some, lasting change. Six Puget Sound-area residents tell us how the events of that day played out in their lives.
Craig Morris' 43rd birthday Sunday won't be a time for celebration, but for reflection and a renewed sense of appreciation for those who help keep this country safe.
"I grew up in a patriotic family, and I feel that even more now," said Morris, a University of Washington respiratory therapist who lives in Normandy Park.
On the morning of the day he turned 33, Morris had just opened a couple of birthday presents before clicking on the TV to get a traffic report before he drove to work.
In an instant, the joy of marking a birthday gave way to "shock and immense sadness."
"I sat there in disbelief — dazed and very sad as I watched CNN until the last moment I could leave for work," said Morris, who at the time was customer-service representative for Qwest.
When he got to work, he found that co-workers had decorated his cubicle the night before with balloons and signs wishing him a happy birthday. Quickly and quietly, he took them all down, feeling sadness and an odd embarrassment his birthday would end up being a day of boundless grief for more families than he could imagine.
To varying degrees, each Sept. 11 since has been a reminder of that moment, and he expects the sentiment to be particularly strong on this, the 10th anniversary. He'll watch TV news accounts and special broadcasts on the day's observances and tributes offered to the 9/11 victims.
"Unfortunately each generation has a day of significance, from Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City and now 9/11," said Morris. It gives him an unusual bond with his fiancée's 16-year-old son, who was born on April 19, 1995, the day a truck bomb destroyed Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168.
Morris hasn't served in the military, but his father was in the Navy and his older brother served in the Air Force and reserves.
Morris doesn't claim to be a superpatriot, but feels a deep gratitude to the men and women in the military.
"Anytime there are donations being collected to support (military) families, I give a little extra because I feel that connection. And because they're working to protect us, so that hopefully nothing like this will happen again."
— Jack Broom, Seattle Times staff reporter
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