I made a promise to myself, in memory of my friend Brady, that I would blog about him on September 11 every year. It's so hard to imagine that the world has been so long without his quick wit and winning smile. I 've missed a couple. But here is 2006, 2007, 2008
He was a great guy - one of those guys that is friends with everyone, and not a single person could find anything negative to say about him-except that maybe he laughed too loud, and was in on too many of the pranks (until he became Student Body President my senior year of high school).
He was my semi-distant relative: our great-grandfathers were brothers - his mom's maiden name is Bills and so is mine. We used to joke that we could never date because it'd be against the law. We still went out a few times, and hung out together with friends all the time.
He was a great singer. I remember at the mission farewell of a friend, that he and a group sang "Abide with Me, Tis Eventide" - all four parts, a capella. It was so gorgeous, and 20+ years later I still remember it.
At his own mission farewell (Elder Howell went to the Canary Islands - how unfair is that?), that the closing song he chose was, "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" and many times when I hear or play that song I think about Brady.
And mostly he was my friend. Mostly I will miss him, and the world is poorer that he is gone.
And mostly I will never forget that he was murdered.
Relatively speaking (say, a human lifetime), it has been a long time since the original September Eleventh. My kids weren't even born yet, and they are in 5th and 6th grade now. But in the scope of human experience we were attacked on our own soil like an hour ago. It'll be a day when the world changed for all of us - a true day of terror. A day that was the beginning of the war that still goes on, and might go on forever (who can say?).
Every single person who was alive that day and anywhere in America remembers that day. And I am posting in memory of my friend Brady, who was in his office, at his post in Naval Intelligence in the Pentagon, when the unimaginable happened. When his good and decent and influential and important life (just like the lives of all the victims) was suddenly snuffed out.
Please take a second today in silence to remember the lives of all those - victims and families and rescuers - who are so deeply affected by this act of terror. It's important that we never, ever forget.