For any American, just a two word statement can immediately bring up a whole host of memories that have been imprinted into each of our minds. That two word statement is actually a date on the calendar as well–September 11th. What comes to your mind when you hear that specific date mentioned? I imagine you can quickly conjure up the place you were when you first heard that America was being attacked, what you were doing at that moment, and what the rest of that day was like for you. Most of us have other dates or events that bring up such specific memories as well. Perhaps a good memory, like the birth of a child or a wedding. Others have memories that are linked to something bad or tragic that have happened. At 33, I wasn’t around when JFK was assassinated or Pearl Harbor was attacked, but I know that folks living in America at those times have specific memories linked to hearing of those events. However, I was 23 when the United States was attacked by terrorists on 9/11 and I can remember that day quite clearly. In fact, even if I live to be a ripe old age, I can’t see ever forgetting that day. I know you probably have your own story about that day, but this is mine:
September of 2001 was a little bit unusual for me to start out with. For me, it was the first fall that I wasn’t going to some kind of school. In fact, it was the first in 18 years that I wasn’t headed off to school, as I had graduated from college a few months before. I remember that it was really strange for me to see kids going to school and schoolbuses on the road, college kids headed back for classes, and so on. I had given birth to my first child in June and was adjusting to being a mother and staying at home with my baby. What I remember of that morning was feeding my son, showering and eating some breakfast myself, and settling on the couch to catch a little news and weather while the baby played on the floor. I turned on NBC to watch the Today Show and was confused to see that there was live footage of a smoking building in New York City. I had no idea what was going on and at that point they were trying to describe what was happening as a plane had hit one of the World Trade Towers. Not long after turning the TV on, I saw the second of the World Trade Towers hit by yet another plane. At that point I think everyone knew that this was by no means an accident, that our dear country was under attack, and we had no idea whether this was it or not. Like probably most of you, I was shocked, saddened, angry, bewildered, scared, worried, and a whole range of other emotions. I had the TV on literally all day as the rest of the tragic events unfolded. Both Towers fell down. The Pentagon was hit. A plane went down in another part of Pennsylvania, most likely headed for Washington. What else was going to happen? When? Who was doing this and why? There was so much uncertainty everywhere. My husband called to check in on us. My Mom called. Other calls were made back and forth. Who knew what was going to happen next? Being used to living in a so-called “safe” country, this was such a shocking experience for all of us. Though I didn’t personally know any of the victims, I was so saddened for the many, many families that lost loved ones that September day and had their lives forever changed.
Looking back, an entire decade later, I’m so thankful that we have been protected from other such attacks. I’m proud of the heroic actions of many other Americans. I lift up all of the families that were affected by this tragedy in prayer. I highly respect and am thankful for all of the people who defend this country everyday, especially those who have paid for our freedom with their lives. Though it’s not a good memory that we hold of that day, I don’t want us to forget it. I never want us take our country and our freedom for granted, as we are apt to do. And most of all, I want us to abide by the words printed on our currency, put on there by our forefathers many years ago for a reason: In God We Trust.