“Welcome home!” shouted border patrol, and I never thought I’d experience such emotion to be back on American soil. Er, cement.

I hadn’t been gone for very long. An hour, maybe? Though, when you’re running a half-marathon an hour feels like an eternity. Mile 4 was the Ambassador Bridge—something I’ve run over twice but have yet to drive—and miles 5, 6, and 7 were in Windsor and along the riverfront. Mile 8 was through the tunnel, the first half of which was breezy and wonderful, but what goes down must come up. Or something like that. But the reward for climbing out of the tunnel was seeing the hands of the border patrol agents up and ready for high-fives as we rounded the corner and out of the tunnel.

Welcome home. Maybe it was because I was officially more than half finished with the race. Maybe it was because I was running for a cause bigger than myself. Or maybe it was genuinely because I really was home.

Sixteen years ago, we wouldn’t have thought twice about the security measures for an international race like the Detroit half-marathon. We might not have had to pay attention to making sure our race bibs were visible as we came back through the tunnel. We might not have even had to carry our passports in our running belts for the entire 13 miles.

And we could still walk with our family members to the gate, watch them board, and see their plane pull away from the terminal and taxi to the runway.

But sixteen years ago today, that all changed. And we experienced something we never thought we would. And while September 11 left a gaping hole, it brought America—and even the world—together in an unprecedented way.

This mug’s story represents a world where safety is a luxury. But one where nations—people—come together to look out for each other. To keep us safe. And to welcome us home.

Welcome home. Sweet home.

Monday Mugs is where I tell the stories behind my coffee mugs. Each one holds a story (and coffee, of course) of some where I’ve been. The photos are my actual mugs, not lookalikes found online. So grab one of your own mugs (fill it with coffee first) and hear the stories of mine. And don’t forget the cream and sugar. 

 

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