Seven years ago today, so many lives were changed forever. Not only American lives, but across the world. Seven years ago today the feeling of being safe dissolved into a new color-coded threat level. Terrorism became a part of our every-day language. Hatred towards Americans became more well-known. A great war began.
Seven years ago today, I was a junior in college, just about to leave for class. My roommate yelled for me to come up stairs NOW. I walked into her room, confused, then quickly astonished by the events on tv. We sat there, silently in awe. It was about 8:30 in the morning. The news reporters were greatly confused, no one seemed to know what was happening. A tall building in NYC was smoldering in flames. What could have possibly happened?!?! The idea of terrorism was far from most people’s minds. Sadness, confusion, and fear crept into the hearts of so many.
I couldn’t stay to watch what was happening. I reluctantly left for my only class of the day. I would have skipped it, had it not been a mandatory attendance day. The radio repeated the events, solemnly, with little explanation. My heart weighed heavily as I walked towards school. The halls were fairly empty, quieter than usual. Many people seemed to still not know. Tvs were pulled out into the hallway, showing CNN coverage. Class was cancelled.
I couldn’t get home fast enough. I turned the tv back on, glued for the remainder of the day. I called my mom, my brother had been sent home from his Minneapolis office. Things were quiet down in the twin cities. I learned that all air traffic was grounded. I sat and watched the replay of the crashes and the towers falling, the horror and chaos. No matter how many times I watched, I couldn’t understand.
My roommate and I were stirred from our tv comas, a very familiar sound broke the outside silence. We exchanged terrified glances. We rushed outside, cell phones in-hand, looking upwards. Throughout the day, rumors had been flying. The city I attended college in was on a major water-way, a hub for shipping. With the rumors of a gas crises, the worry of more attacks, a few planes still un-accounted for, our city had been named as a possible target. We were only slightly reassured to learn the plane was an Air Force protective fly-over. The air base was only a few miles from where we lived.
The following days and weeks were a mangled mess. Learning small pieces of how this happened…why this happened. I’m sorry for everyone who was even remotely affected by the September 11th attacks.
A few years after the attacks, I accidentally started watching a movie one day on A&E, it was called “United Flight 93” (not the same movie as was in the theatres). It was an amazing depiction of what the family members and people on board went through that day, rumored it was terrorist attacks, knowing the passengers were going to die. It’s a great story of love, heroism, terror, and fear. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.
This summer I stood at ground zero. I looked into the ginormous hole where the towers once stood. I looked around at the streets, bridges, buildings. I walked through the memorial at the very old little church across the street, which was unscathed in the attack. I couldn’t possibly imagine what had happened right where I was standing. How did these people recover? How did the ash-covered city become clean again. Sad.
On this anniversary, let us remember those who have perished. Let us remember those who have stood up for freedom. Let us remember.