Momento Mori

In Blog by Eric Byrnes

More than any other day in my lifetime, September 11, 2001 changed the world that we live in… 

I can vividly remember answering the hotel phone in the Oakland Airport Hilton and Tarah being on the other end telling me, “Turn on the TV. We are at war.” 

Over the course of the next few hours, the horrific images and information flooded in… Later that afternoon, my mom called informing me that Andy “Sonny” Garcia, the father of one of my best childhood friends, was on the EWR – SFO United Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania…

Last year, during the Let Them Play Tri Across America, we ran directly to the Flight 93 Memorial to pay our respects. 

While at the site, there was a Park Ranger that passionately told the story of that fateful day and flight. He went into the details of the actions of the heroic passengers that fought off the terrorists, and most likely, saved many more lives… My kids were mesmerized. 

At the site of the crash, there are 40 stone pillars, one for each passenger and crew member that lost their lives. As I stood in front of Mr. Garcia’s, I felt this overwhelming spiritual presence of calm that is tough for me to describe. 

Then, out of nowhere, Chloe, my 9-year-old daughter, walked up to Mr. Garcia’s stone pillar and laid flowers at the base of the monument…

I emotionally lost it as tears began to run down my face.

I couldn’t help but think of Mr. Garcia and his grandkids that he never got to meet. I couldn’t help but think of the rest of the flight 93 passengers that sacrificed their lives in order to save others… 

EWR to SFO is the normal flight that I have taken countless times traveling between home and work at MLB Network… I think about Mr. Garcia every single time.

Sometimes, when these sort of traumatic events happen, they don’t even seem real, and it’s almost as if we are disconnected from reality. Somehow, we think we are immortal creatures immune to such travesty… 

Let this be a reminder that we are all very mortal, and life is fleeting, momento mori, we all will die… 

I say this not to freak us out, but I say this as a reminder to LIVE in humility and gratitude each and every single day we have left on this earth. Thousands of people just like Mr. Garcia woke up 18 years ago today and never made it home… 

We can’t necessarily control when our day will come, but we can prepare by LIVIN each and every f*ing one of them.

-EB