It is so hard to believe that is has been ten years since that fateful day; a day of terror, a day of loss, a day of panic and fear.
I was a freshman in high school. That morning, I woke up just like every other day, excited to go to school, to see my friends, and to tackle whatever challenges or surprises that lay before me. After a mad dash to finish up any last-minute homework from the day before, I made my way from home room to my first class of the day. We were beginning to discuss The Canterbury tales in my British Literature class and I couldn’t have been more excited. After a brief roll call and classroom announcements, everyone was told to get out their books, along with our written assignments from the day before. Just as we were opening our books, my teacher was called out of the classroom. He came back moments later, went straight to the television set that was in the room, and turned it on. Now usually this called for a celebration; TV + school = a big rarity. It also meant an ideal opportunity to catch prime napping action for most students. We were all expecting to have a pretty relaxing day, maybe watch a film version of the book. However, we soon found out that that was not the case. Not the case at all.
It was 8:16 in the morning. Upon first seeing the footage of a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers, I was astonished; I thought it must have been a freak accident, a glitch with the plane. I knew things like this happen, rarely, but they do happen. My heart ached for the passengers on the plane, as well as those affected in the tower.
Not more than a few minutes later, a second plane plummeted through the sky, it’s target: the second tower of the World Trade Center. At this point, I, along with my fellow classmates, my teacher, the news reporter and the world were left speechless, in shock, and confused. What had seemed to be just a horrible accident moments before suddenly turned into something more. Why and how would and could one, let alone two, planes crash into the tallest building in the world? I will never forget the moment I saw the towers come crashing down. What was once thought of as a symbol of strength and fortitude was now crumbling to the ground. Billowing clouds of smoke filled the New York City skyline. Debris from plane, as well as the towers, fell to the streets below. What started off as any other day for the citizens of New York, for the people who worked in the World Trade Center Towers, was now blanketed in chaos and panic and shock.
The rest of the day was a big blur. As news spread about what had happened, of the hijacking and purposeful attacks on US soil, nothing else seemed important, nothing else seemed to matter. How anyone could do such a hateful and soulless act, killing, wounding, and harming thousands upon thousands on innocent men, women and children astounded me. From that moment on, my life, the lives of everyone, would be forever and completely changed.
Ten years later, the effects of that fateful day still harbor in everyone’s hearts; we will never forget all of the pain and hurt and loss that it caused. yet we have many things to be grateful for. I like to think that we were a solid and unified country before the events of 9-11, yet nothing compares to how we came together following the terrorist attacks. Not just New York City (which was completely and utterly amazing), but your next door neighbor, the bake shop owner down the street, doctors, lawyers, teachers and students, your mom, your dad, pastors and preachers, construction workers and waiters. Everyone. The citizens of America who were once strangers were now family. We supported each other, felt for each other, listened to each other and loved each other. We put aside our differences and came together as one. We did not, and would not, let this tragic event tear us down. The Trade Center Towers may have crumbled, but we as a nation stood strong.
As we go to church tomorrow, eat dinner with our families, go for a run in the park or talk to a friend on the phone, please take time to honor and remember that day 10 years ago, the lives that were lost and the lives that were forever changed. Say a prayer for the many, many fire fighters and policemen and other emergency workers who risked and selflessly gave their lives to help the victims of the attacks and for the families who were torn apart and left broken.
Hug your mom, your dad , your sister or brother.
Say ” I Love you”.
If there is one thing that we can take away from this most tragic of events, it is that life is short and there is no time for hate.