How lucky I feel to still be awake in the wee hours of September 11, 2019. I’m still here, unlike hundreds of people who suffered horrific deaths soon to be exactly 18 years ago on that fateful day, September 11, 2001.
I remember that day as though it happened yesterday – maybe even hours ago. I had graduated high school and began undergrad at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the fall of 2001. The day did not begin like a “normal” day. I was sleeping as long as possible before class when my mom called and woke me from my slumber.
She told me to turn on the news.
The first of New York City’s iconic World Trade Center towers had been hit by an airplane. I recalled assuming it had been a terrible accident, when, on live television, I witnessed the crash of the second plane into the second tower. I was speechless – I am literally getting chills as I write this…
My mom and I sat in silence on the phone, watching the news. I remember not knowing what would happen next – what else would be destroyed and by whom? Then we heard there had been another plane crash into the Pentagon.
I was scared to death, as was most likely everyone in my beloved country. I was in Knoxville, four hours from my hometown – and my family – and I was almost in a panic – my roommate at the time actually did go home. My parents convinced me I would be safer at school.
All classes were canceled for the day. We gathered multiple times in the food court to watch the news anchors speculate, live, about the morning’s shocking events. No one knew what was happening at first. Everyone seemed to be speechless.
No matter the act of terror that occurred that day – those evil people don’t deserve acknowledgement on my blog. My heart goes out to the victims – the murdered, their families and loved ones, and to us – Americans.
To the brave souls aboard the flight headed for its target – The White House – there aren’t enough ways to express thanks other than to simply say – thank you – for sacrificing your lives for ours. The group of passengers overpowered the terrorists and crashed the plane into a field in Pennsylvania, thus preventing the White House attack.
I will never forget the live footage of then President, George W. Bush, sitting in a tiny chair in an elementary school classroom in Florida, where he was reading to children. Someone close to President Bush slipped into the room and began whispering to the leader of the free world.
His controlled expression of absolute shock and horror is ingrained in my memory. Also seared into my mind is the image of a man plunging to the ground from one of the towers, head-first, with his hands clenched in an eerily calm manner behind his back. That photograph, I remember, was on the front page of a now-forgotten newspaper.
It turned out that many people trapped in the buildings chose to fall to their deaths rather than burn to death in the fires that raged within.
Anyhow, as the day passed, I felt safer, yet still aware and cautious. Things weren’t the same for a LONG time. People were scared, suspicious, and basically paranoid.
What blows my mind is that a whole generation has grown into young adults since 9/11. They were babies, or perhaps not born at all, on September 11, 2001. My hope is that the events of 9/11 are never forgotten and that future generations are fully aware of the gravity of what happened.
Ideally I’d be typing up a list of the dead, instead, here’s a heartbreaking link listing those murdered on that terrible day:
I was lucky enough to not lose any loved ones in the attacks. The events of 9/11, which have partly shaped my generation, make me think of how people felt in the 1940s, when Pearl Harbor was bombed as World War II raged on.
I have so much more empathy for those older generations, as I can kind of identify with what they experienced during times of crisis. The attack was surreal, watching it on TV was surreal – I can’t imagine having been near the World Trade Center, let alone in the city of New York, on that day.