Today marks the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. Today also happens to be my daughter's 8th birthday. So it goes without saying that this day brings about mixed feelings for me, very conflicted emotions that have been tempered with time but are still present at this very moment. So, I thought I'd share some of my observations about that day, and the last 8 years. The day started innocently enough for us. Beforehand, we always referred to September 11th as D-Day, of course not knowing what lay in store for that date and its future history. The 11th was my wife's due date, and if things didn't take their course naturally, she was to be induced into labor. The doctor's felt that, since my wife was a very petite 4 foot 10 inches, that prolonging the pregnancy past the projected due date was unnecessary and could result in a more difficult delivery, so we were to report to the hospital the night before to begin the proper medications to induce labor and bring our daughter into the world. Starting about 7 that morning, the signs that the drugs were doing their job and our first child would soon be with us began showing up. Family would be on their way to the hospital soon, and everything looked to be on its way to a storybook delivery. That changed when I received a phone call that morning from my best friend. He had heard on Stern that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. So, we turned the TV onto one of the big three networks, I think it was the Today Show, to see if there had been any reports on it. Sure enough, they were showing some preliminary footage from the first impact. No sooner had we began watching, though, when we caught live on the air the second plane, the second impact. No one had to tell us that, in that moment, the day had changed completely, not only for us, but everyone in the nation. While our initial thought had been one of "what a tragic accident", it immediately became clear that these were deliberate acts that would have repercussions for the foreseeable future. So, throughout the morning, I watched as news people, commentators, and reporters in the field showed us what was going on with those events, while I also dealt with the immediate needs of doctors, nurses, my wife, and our unborn child. I, as well as my wife, was torn between wanting to know every detail about what was unfolding in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, yet we also knew we had to focus on our task at hand, which was bringing our daughter safely into a world we were no longer sure was safe for her. Then the first tower fell. Once we soaked in what we were witnessing, we realized that we wouldn't be able to continue watching these events if we were to make it through this day. So the TV's were turned off (by this time, most every channel available in the hospital had coverage devoted to the events of the day), and everyone coming into the room was barred from mentioning what was going on. The added stress of worrying about what was going on, if there were more attacks planned in other places, especially here in Orlando where we live, would simply add more complications to an already difficult pregnancy and delivery. So we concentrated on our primary goal, and that was to have a healthy baby girl that we had been anticipating for 9 months. Adrianna (or Addie, as she would later be called) was born that afternoon at 3:42. She was perfect, too. It was obvious she was going to be small like her mother. Later, as the nurses took her for the various examinations, pokings, and proddings that little newborns thankfully will never remember, we caught up on the rest of the events. The falling of the second tower. The scores of people that didn't make it out of the buildings. The story of the fate of the plane in Pennsylvania was just beginning to emerge. The Pentagon, and all of the confusion in that part of the country. The entire air space of the US shut down to all commercial traffic. Initial speculation about who was behind it all. Osama bin Laden was already primary suspect number one by that time. Of course, we couldn't contact any of our friends in NYC at that time to see if they were OK. One in particular, a close friend of my wife that had been a NYC police officer for two years at this point, we didn't get in touch with for two weeks following that day to find out that she was alright. She told us about the destruction and death from a first-hand perspective unlike anything we had really heard up to that point. She described how pieces of the towers had embedded themselves into the surrounding buildings in a way that made it appear they had been there all along, like they were just part of the construction when they were first built. She also described the agony she, and others involved in rescue and recovery efforts, felt everytime they uncovered another victim. It really brought home to us exactly what that day would mean to us. As the years passed by, I watched my daughter grow from a helpless newborn, to an inquisitive toddler, to now a bright, beautiful 8-year-old girl. She's curious about everything. She does well in school, and is exceptional at reading and spelling. She's in the school dance troupe, and has just started taking piano lessons. I've promised to give her guitar lessons on the first guitar I bought for her, a genuine Gibson Les Paul Peewee guitar, if she cleans her room, since her small hands are now big enough to get around the neck and reach the strings properly. And like most girls her age, she hasn't cleaned her room yet. She's in the Girl Scouts, and her mother is the troop leader. She loves Hannah Montana, iCarly, and the Jonas Brothers. And like Daddy's girl should, she also loves Steve Vai, Dream Theater, and "Daddy's Songs", as she calls the songs I've written, recorded, and performed over the years she's been here. I wrote this up on another forum, and thought I'd share here, as well: So this day is very mixed for me. My daughter is one of the most kind, thoughful, sincere, and caring persons I have ever known on this planet. She is the polar opposite of the events of this date, and proof that from the ashes of one of the most vile, evil acts ever perpetrated against the people of this country and this world, something wonderful, beautiful, and pure can emerge from it. And yet I still grieve for those that were lost on this day. The images are still fresh in my memory, and will be until the day I die. The first question I get asked when people find out my daughter's birth date is what was I feeling during the time she was being born. My answer to it is always this: It was the first, and only, time in my life I have felt absolute joy and absolute sorrow at the exact same moment. Happy Birthday, Addie. Daddy loves you more than you'll ever realize.