For anyone who's old enough to remember, September 11th, 2001 is one of those days where, like the assassination of JFK and attack on Pearl Harbor, you remember where you were, what you're were doing, and who you were with when you heard that two planes had hit the twin towers in New York. You probably also remember the same details when you heard a plane hit the pentagon and also about United Airlines flight 93 crashing in a field in Pennsylvania; which was apparently on its way toward Washington as well before passengers attempted to retake the plane. While I remember details about all the events, the most vivid is when I first found out what was going on. I was sitting in my freshman english class at Husson College (now University) when my professor's phone rang. She stepped out of the room and when she returned it was with an ashen look on her face. She informed us that a airplane had hit the north tower in New York. While we were all in class with no access to the news at the time, her husband worked for a local news affiliate. At the time we were all a little dumbstruck at hearing the news and because we were in a college setting and people attend from all over the US, she asked if anyone needed to leave to check on family. To my recollection no one did.
A short time later her phone rang and again she stepped from the room. When she reentered it was easy to tell something was very wrong. She almost had a look of panic though she was attempting to keep herself composed. Her first words were, "We're fucked, we're sooo fucked." With that we were all put on edge as she informed us that we were under attack. It was somber and sobering to know that our nation was changed forever. As we exited the class and I entered the student lounge, tv's had been brought from other areas and set up and students were gathered round watching various news channels. At the time I had a suspended license and had to wait for a ride so I headed to the dorms and spent the next few hours with some friends watching, discussing, and going through the range of emotions that I think most American's did.
This is just my story of the day though. While the day certainly had an impact, for me there was nothing direct. For many others, like my wife's family, the day was very different. On that day her dad was supposed to be working at the pentagon. Unbeknownst to her and others his meeting has been transferred last minute to Alabama. There was a heavy deal of panic as they attempted to locate him and the memories of that still linger for them. Still, for others there were hours of attempting to get through to loved ones and sadly for many there were calls that would never be achieved. It's a day that's remembered for many reasons and no two stories are the same.
I have another post I've begun that gets into the after but that's for another day. Today, as we remember that day, let us not just remember the events, but the people. Those innocents that perished. The first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice so that others could live. The men and women who spent days and months searching for survivors and later on, the remains so that families could get at least a small amount of closure. The men and women who took up arms when the nation asked them too. The nation was shaped that day and the events have had a long lingering effect on everyone in this nation but particularly those who were there and those who spent a vast amount of time oversees because of it. Today let's take the time to remember them, all of them; the people, our fellow countrymen, and put into action a plan to make ourselves better in honor of their sacrifice.