It's hard to imagine that on a morning very much like the one today, eleven years ago, everything changed in the matter of 102 minutes.
9/11 has become our generation's JFK or Pearl Harbor. At least, that's what I believe. It is an event that most people will always remember what the were doing the very moment they had first heard of the attacks on NYC and the Pentagon or realized what was happening wasn't a horrible accident.
I remember clearly what I was doing and where I was.
I was at the University, in class when the first two towers were hit. Everyone in my class was oblivious to what was going on. When the class ended, I had about 15 minutes in-between classes and had headed outside before going to the computer lab for an exam. That's when I knew something was up. Everyone was on their cellphones or just standing in small groups. When I first heard that a plane had hit one of the towers, like probably everyone in the world, I thought it was an accident, Of course, as people around me gathered more information from people at home watching TV or on the Internet, it quickly became obvious that what was happening was no accident. I remember being sort of dumbfounded by it as I went to my next class, like I couldn't believe that anyone or anything would dare attack the US. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought that. That belief may sound arrogant to some, but nothing had ever happen like that in our generation. I went to my computer class and like everyone in the room, we were trying to get on news websites to find out more info. CNN. MSNBC. FOX news. All the major news sites were down due to traffic. That had never happened before. We still had our exam. I remember the professor saying something along the lines of not stopping our lives and that was what the terrorists wanted. And I remembered thinking taking a computer lab exam was probably the last thing on everyone's mind. After the exam, I met up with my friend Shelly, who had been home and was woken by another friend that morning, telling her to turn on the TV. She saw the second plane hit. Shell and I left school and went back to my apartment and turned on the news. Neither of us knew what to say. The towers had already fallen by then, but the news kept reshowing images of the planes striking the buildings, of people jumping or falling from the towers, of flames shooting from the Pentagon and from the field in Pennsylvania, of the towers falling down into themselves and everyone in the world knew that there were still people in those buildings when they came down. Then they were images of people all around the world: Japan, England, China, and so on, of their citizens stopped in their streets, watching the events unfold in the US. I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on their faces. That even separated by thousands of miles, language, and culture, there were sharing a moment that had been felt around the world. For days afterword, I was glued to the TV. Every time they pulled a survivor out from the mass of twisted metal and debris, it was a good moment in the span of many bad ones. Hearing and seeing fighter jets fly over where I live, because the president had refueled at our local, regional airport was another thing that is hard to forget, because you really don't expect to see that when you look at the sky. I remember going to my parents house that night and my brother being there, too, mostly because I don't think anyone wanted to be alone. I remember going to sleep that night wondering what kind of world I was going to wake up in.
I didn't know anyone who lost their lives on 9/11. While I live somewhat close to the Pentagon, about an hour or so away, this didn't happen in my backyard. But for anyone who lived through that moment and the days and weeks afterward, it impacted the lives of millions. I never saw that one firefighter with blue eyes heading up the stairwell of one of the towers in person, but I will remember his face forever. I didn't know any of the firefighters, EMTs, police officers or Port Authority officers who lost their lives that day, but I know they were heroes. I will also never forget the sound of all those beeping of all the trapped firefighters.The world literally stopped that day. I hope that for the generations too young to remember what happened on this day are taught by their parents and teachers to not forget.
Never forget doesn't mean that if we do, that history will repeat itself. At least that's not what it means for me. Never forget means to remember the 2,977 people who go up the morning, on a morning very much like today, where the skies are a beautiful blue, and went to work, having no idea that their lives would be tragically cut short.
So, where were you on 9/11?