It's a day that many of us will never forget where we were or what we were doing. September 11th, 2001 will forever live in our minds as the nation had to rebuild after one of the deadliest attacks on American soil.
For me, I was junior in high school sitting in my first hour class - Accounting. We were going along with our usual routine when all of sudden all of us in the class new something was wrong. We could hear commotion in the hallway with teachers talking. Then finally another teacher came in and pulled our teacher out into the hallway. Our teacher then walked over to the TV and right then and there we saw tower one burning. I remember thinking in my mind, "Was this just a freak accident?" But soon enough just as the rest of the world learned... It was not! Even though I was thousands of miles away, I began to get scared. Living so close to Chicago, all I could think is "Was that the next place to be attack?"
I know I can't generalize for my generation, but for me it was hard to understand what was happening. People my age had never really lived through a war... at least that we could remember... and now it's happening right here on our turf.
In October (a little more than one month after the attacks) I was supposed to travel to Washington, D.C. for a trip that I had won through 4-H, but with all the turmoil circulating my parents weren't sure if they wanted me to go. I begged and pleaded with them saying if something bad is going to happen, it's just going to happen. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for me and I didn't want to pass it up. And sure enough I had a blast with a bus load of other Hoosier 4-Hers. We took in all the sights and sounds of the the nation's capitol, but the one thing I'll never forget is driving past the Pentagon. Seeing the devastation made my heart sink... just the idea of the terror that was running through those poor people's minds. I couldn't even imagine! Just one month after the attacks massive rubble was still lying all over the ground and the gloom still hung heavy in the air. A large American Flag proudly hung in the middle of the gaping hole in the building.
A few years later, I traveled to New York City for the first time. I was a junior in college and while I was excited to be in the Big Apple, the one thing I had to see was Ground Zero. I remember taking the subway across town. We then walked a few blocks (I feel terrible about this next remark) and I remember saying there is no way this is it. But you have to remember this several years later and all that was there was the massive hole in the ground. As we walked around we came to a fence where family and friends had made a memorial. Just seeing all the letters, stuffed animals, pictures, and flowers brought tears to my eyes. Thinking that these are people's mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends made my whole body ache in pain for them. The only thing left from that tragic day in history was this hole in the city. As we continued to walk around Ground Zero, we came to the small church that many of the people ran passed the day the towers fell. To me it was amazing to see that this old, little church was able to survive the falling rubble, raining ash, and flames that happened all around it that fateful day. Just stepping through the small gated courtyard, I was immediately taken back to my classroom back in Hamlet, Indiana and feeling the heartache and anxious nerves that I felt on 9/11/01. I just couldn't help but tear up even more.
I know I was not at Shanksville, PA, Washington D.C., or New York City the day terrorist attacked America... but I must saying visiting these places is something I will never forget as long as I live. To all of those families that lost loved ones I send my best wishes. And to all the BRAVE men and women serving overseas, thank you for keeping America "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." May we never forget 9/11/01 in hopes that it will never happen again. God Bless America!
Let me know... where were you or what were you doing on 9/11/01. Or if you've ever visited any of these areas, what emotions did you feel?
(I'll look for my pictures the next time I'm home and try and post some of them.)
P.S. sorry this was not up sooner, I was having trouble posting it. : (
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