Four years ago on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I shared the following post on my personal blog. I thought it was fitting to share again today. May we always remember and never forget that fateful day. God Bless the USA.
“Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry..”
It was the Fall semester of my sophomore year of college. I was 19. Unlike most days, I was the only one of my roommates who did not have an early class that Tuesday. However, being the early riser I am, I was up, showered, and seated at my computer by 8:50 a.m. Within moments of sitting down, I received an IM from a classmate that said “Hey, a plane just crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.” I forget my exact response, but it was something to the effect of “What are you talking about?” In my head, I was thinking planes can’t get that close to those towers. Then the response came “Go to Yahoo’s homepage.” I did and saw the headline and picture.
I immediately left my computer and went out to the living area of our apartment and turned on the Today Show. Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were reporting the news live as it came in. I stood watching alone in the apartment for what had to be 7 or 8 minutes. Then it happened. The moment I knew the world would never be the same because this was no accident. The second plane hit the South Tower, and I saw it on TV.
Each year, I remember September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. I remember the maroon American Eagle tank top and dark wash Express jeans I was wearing; I remember one of my roommates crying on the phone as she tried to track down family who worked in Lower Manhattan (yes, thankfully, they were all okay.); I remember my AOL Instant Messenger away message that evening was “It’s incomprehensible!” typed in red and blue text. In some ways, I think it still is. The shock of the events from 10 years ago has worn off, but at times, it still is hard to grasp.
“Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below
Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters”
My heart still aches for the victims, and I pray for them and their families. I’m still in awe of the bravery and heroism of the thousands of first responders, who worked night and day to help their fellow citizens – neighbors and strangers alike. My heart swells with pride when I think and remember the sense of community and patriotism that rippled through the country. We wore red, white, and blue, we waved American flags, we prayed together, and we helped each other heal.
At 19, I saw the world change right before my eyes. Each year, I make it a point to remember that fateful day. I remember the ones lost; I remember the heroes; I remember how this great country rallied at one of its darkest moments.
“Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day…”
Lyrics to “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” by Alan Jackson