It's slightly chilly outside today. I was outdoors, with a light but warm white jacket covering my body, along with my violet t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. But today's not about me. Not at all. I step out of the car into the early fall air, crisp, cool, and clean. A few scattered leaves crunch under my feet as I walk down the sidewalk and through the black, iron-wrought gates. I stray from the path then and I walk over to one of the marble slabs, just as a few others are doing today.

I kneel in front of it, and I'm already almost crying. "Hi, Dad." I murmur. "It's been another year without year. Eleven years." I reach out a hand and trace the letters carved into the marble. Demyx Myde Hitoku.

I was seven when my dad died, so I remember a lot about him. He was a musician, and a very good one at that. Some of my earliest memories include me at a very young age sitting in my father's lap as he played his instrument, a guitar, and sang for me. I can still hear his voice as he sang to me, gently:

"Lullaby and good night, with roses bedight
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed"

To this day, I can't hear Brahms's Lullaby and not get the urge to cry. My dad had one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard, and he would sing that to me every night before he tucked me in, even when I was seven and should've outgrown that kind of stuff, for some reason I still listened to my dad's voice.

Us Hiktokus were a slightly odd family. My dad was a musician, but his career never went very far. He usually played at the corners of shops that would let him and gather tips from pedestrians passing by. My mom was the real bacon-bringer. She was a psychiatrist, and usually assisted in anger management. And then was me, their only daughter, a girl who liked pencils and paper and imaginary worlds more than friends. We all loved each other, and to them showed a more open personality, but elsewhere, we hid. My dad behind his music, my mom behind her work, and me behind pencils and paper.

My dad was very sociable, having many friends that I soon called "Uncle" or "Aunt". There was Xigbar, an odd, older man who wore camouflage and always had a rifle nearby. Uncle Luxord was a drinker and gambler, though he always kept himself in check around me. Uncle Zexion was a bookworm, and through him I discovered books. And then there was Uncle Axel. Where to begin. He was a redhead, and a pyromaniac. I learned how to set fires at age four because of him. And then there was his sister, Kairi, her husband, Sora, and twin children, Roxas and Xion.

Roxas and Xion became my best friends soon, and we did everything together whenever we could. They were always wanting to see my dad, and hear him sing and play his guitar. My dad was the greatest person on earth. He was always there and always stayed with me and helped me whenever he could.

And then, one day when I was seven, he had to go to New York. I don't remember why, but he had to. I can remember him giving my mom a hug, a kiss, and then he turned to me and lifted me up with fake groans and strains.

"You're so big, Naminé." He said. "I have to go away for a little while, but I'll be back very soon."

"How soon?" I asked.

"A week. Seven days."

I frowned. "But Daddy, how am I gonna get to sleep without you singing?"

Dad chuckled and ruffled my hair. "Mommy and I made a tape of my singing. You can listen to it before you go to bed."

I thought for a moment. It seemed pretty good to my seven-year-old mind. "Okay. But come back soon."

"I will, Princess." I smile at his special name for me. He kissed my forehead, grabbed his stuff, and left. That was a Saturday.

Three days passed. I think you know what happened then. It was a beautiful morning. Despite it being fall, it was somewhat warm and sunny. Roxas, Xion, and I walked to school like usual, but then, just an hour after starting, they let us go home. Roxas, Xion, and I ran to their house, since Mom was away working, and Kairi stayed home.

Kairi let us all in, and I saw the TV. There was a huge building with a big hole in it. "Kairi, what's that?"

"There was an accident." Kairi said, paled. "A plane hit the World Trade Center, and currently they're trying to get the people out."

"World Trade Center?" I asked, remembering something.

"And then on Tuesday, I'll go see the World Trade Center." Dad said.

"World Trade Center?" I asked.

"It's a really big building. I'll get to go inside and see it." He grinned and ruffled my hair. "I'll take photos for you so you can see it."

And I was seeing it. "Kairi, my daddy's there."

She paled even more. "I have to call your mommy, Naminé." She disappeared into the kitchen. Roxas and Xion dropped their backpacks and stared at the TV with me.
"Why's your daddy there?" Roxas asked.

"I don't know. He just is."

Kairi came running in, phone to her ear. She stared at the screen before talking. "Larxene, I have Naminé with me, but… she says Demyx is in the WTC." Larxene. My mommy's name. And Demyx was my daddy's. Her face grew more concerned. "Larxene, just stay calm. If you can come home, go ahead and come home, but if you can't, I have Naminé with me."

She moved back to the kitchen. I heard the TV say, "Attack", and I, confused, asked Kairi what they were saying.

She bit her lip. "They're saying people are trying to hurt us." She said.

"Is my daddy all right?" I asked.

"Don't worry. I'm sure he'll be fine." And then the phone rang. Kairi answered it. "Hello? Demyx? Is this you?" She slowly lost her color. "Are you in… the Twin Towers? Which one? The North one? No, Larxene's not here, but Naminé is. Do you want to talk to her? Okay." She handed me the phone.

I took it in both hands and held it to my ear. "Princess?"

"Daddy? What's going on?"

"It's okay, Naminé. Something happened, but it'll be okay." I could almost hear the smile in his voice. "Have you been listening to my lullaby?"

I nodded quietly, and realized he couldn't see me. "Yes."

"Where's Mommy?"

"At work." I whispered.

"Princess, I just want you to know something." He said. I turned to look at the screen. "I love you. You're my little Naminé. Always listen to my lullaby, okay. And don't forget me."

"Daddy?" I whimpered. He started singing.

"Lullaby and good night, with roses bedight
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down no—"

It cut off. My eyes were glued to the TV as it zoomed into the building. And it was crumbling, folding into itself as it came tumbling down. "Daddy? Daddy?" I yelled as the tower fell. "Daddy!" I wailed, and somewhere in my seven-year-old brain, it clicked. I dropped the phone and fell to my knees, screeching out my cries. Roxas knelt beside me and hugged me tight and wouldn't let go.

When Mommy came running in, she was crying too. Her makeup was smeared from the tears, and the first thing she did was pick me up and hold me tightly against her. "Naminé… Naminé…"

"Daddy…" I whimpered softly. Mommy clung to me tighter. Kairi was hugging Mommy from behind, and Roxas was holding one of my hands. My world was crashing down, just like those towers were.

"It's been hard, Daddy. I've graduated. Can you believe it?" I smiled softly. "I'm going to go to college soon. But I took some time to stop by. Because I had to see you again. I know you're where you should be happy. And… I was just hoping you could've been there when I got my Diploma. I miss you, Daddy. I can still hear your voice, your song. I've never stopped hearing it. I even play the tape you gave me every night before I go to sleep. I miss you so much. I just want you to be proud of me. If you were here, would you be proud? Are you proud? Can you… Can you see me?"

I felt the comforting touch of two hands against my shoulders. I glanced up and wiped the tears from my eyes—when had I started crying?

"Of course your father would be proud of you, Naminé." The honey-blond love of my life whispered. "He loved you. He still does, even in heaven." He moved to embrace me. "You promised to never forget that, remember?"

"I remember." My voice chokes up in my throat. "I still miss him."

"And you should." He held me tightly in a strong embrace. "You loved him. Now, ready to get going back home?" He wiped my tears away.

"Just a second, Roxas." I uncurled my other hand and set its contents next to the gravestone. It was a bouquet of three different kinds of flowers: poppies, nasturtiums, and irises. I gave one last smile. "And… me and Roxas are going to get married soon. Mom says you would joke with Sora and Kairi that we'd get together. Isn't that right? I wish you could be here. And… I wish you could be here to walk me down the aisle. I'll always remember you Daddy. Always." I stood up, and Roxas and I walked back to our car so we could go home. But throughout the day, my father stands as one of the mourned and honored Americans who were killed that tragic day. None of them will be forgotten.

Flames burning, fear striking

America is swept into horror

As one tower, then the next, is struck.

People scramble for their loved ones,

Trapped, innocents try to escape,

But few escape the tragic disaster

As each tower folds into itself

And each person is swept away

And so many lives are lost

But there's something else

We know that this cannot bring us down.

We can grieve, but we'll pick ourselves up.

And the only thing the attacks can do to America

Is Make us stronger.

Destiny: In memory of all American people who lost their lives on this fateful day. You will never be forgotten, even throughout the spans of time.