I didn’t think I’d spend the morning in tears, but watching families relive the loss of a loved one made me an emotional mess. I saw a grown man sobbing. I saw kids reading their dad’s name, boasting about his heroism. I saw women who were pregnant when their heroic husband perished.
12 years ago today, America changed.
I remember the details of this day more than most normal 17 year old kids should. Freakishly, I’m a details person.
When I woke up that Tuesday, I remember watching the morning show and thinking it was really cool – it was National 911 day, which was honoring local firefighters, first responders and EMTs. Oddly enough, this would become the day when hundreds of people in this field would make the ultimate sacrifice.
Off to school I went, my mind mostly consumed with the upcoming football game with one of my school’s rivals, Kickapoo.
Nearing the end of my first class (Ms. Hanlen’s Stagecraft class but she was out that morning for some reason – I told you I was a details person!), an announcement was made for all teachers to turn on their classroom’s tv.
What we saw next, none of us will ever forget.
All we could see was smoke coming from the first tower. So, as we were all trying to figure out why a burning building 1200 miles away was supposed to be national news, the second plane flew into the second building. By the start of the next class, one of the towers had fallen.
Even for a details guy, the rest of the day was a blur.
September 11, 2001 was the day before my 18th birthday. The news was on TVs the entire day in school and I had this really weird feeling that this is the way our country reacted after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lines at the gas station, longer lines at the local grocery and an eerie feeling that I’d be drafted by the Army by the end of the week.
I was going to be 18 after all.
As strange as my feelings were, I cannot fathom the thoughts or emotions of the families who lost loved ones.
Nearly 3000 people died that day.
To those who ran into the buildings to save people, to the people who fought back on Flight 93, to those who enlisted in the military to protect our country, to the NYPD, to those who were forced into becoming single parents that day – you are heroes.
All of you.
May God bless all of those effected and may we never forget what happened that day.