I never met Shannon Lewis Adams, but I woke up this morning thinking about him. I said his name out loud.
On September 11, 2001, he was twenty-five, about the age that my son is now. A baby, still, his real life just beginning — the one his parents had spent years preparing him for. Nurturing him; encouraging him. Loving him.
Fly, little bird, they may have thought then. Go out into the world and see what there is to see.
And Shannon flew. To a lofty building far from home.
I knew his father. We grew up in the same small area in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York. A place where most people are content to spend the whole of their lives. Lewis Adams had a shy sweet smile that traveled his face and was reflected in his eyes. I’ll bet his son Shannon did, too.
I picture a space in the universe where all the lost smiles fled to that bright September day. They are there still. We need just say a name and the space lights up with love.
Of all the names I know just the one. But it’s enough. One name, one face, one smile is all it ever takes to bring us to our knees. And still we say the name.
Because we can. Because we must.