Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years later

Every September 11th is hard. It's hard for every American. It's hard to remember that terrible day. It's hard to think about it. Many try not to. But today, eight years later. I felt like I was right back there and it was even more painful this time around. Today's "real-time" coverage on MSNBC was so horrible. So moving. I saw everything this morning that I did not on that morning eight years ago.

On a Tuesday morning while I was hurriedly preparing for my 9:30 religion class - I was the only freshman in a room full of juniors and seniors, you would have been preparing too - at 8:42am American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. At 9:03 United Flight 175 hit the south tower. Hundreds of lives had already been lost and I was worried about being spoken to in class. I then went to class and as we sat there waiting for the professor to show up, I still had no idea. And then just before the professor arrived, a guy walked into the room and said he heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Even then, I had no idea what that meant. I assumed it was a small plane that clipped the tower. I assumed there would be injuries, maybe even a few deaths. A sad event, of course, but nothing major.

The professor arrived and class proceeded. I wasn't spoken to or called on and was relieved. I felt that I had dodged a bullet. After class I gradually made my way back to my dorm room when I ran into several people asking me if I'd been watching the news. Well, no - I was in class (those were early days when I was still a good student). They told me another plane had hit the second tower. Wait. What? And that what they think was a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon. And that there was a fourth plane. One that was yet unaccounted for.


They're saying it's an apparent act of terror. That war has been declared on our country.

I was 18. I couldn't wrap my mind around what that meant.

I'm 26 now and I still hardly know what it means.

For the past 4 years I've had the honor of working with individuals who lost loved ones on the 4 hijacked planes. What I can't wrap my mind around now is the power of the human heart. How people can lose so much and still continue living, continue fighting for what is right. There are so many heroes lauded for their actions surrounding 9/11/01 - from those passengers who didn't give up and fought back to try to save others; to the fire-fighters and police officers at the scenes; to the service people who have gone to war to fight for our continued freedom from terror; they are all heroes. But there are many, many heroes who the world doesn't have the privilege to know. Individuals who every day fight for the memory of their fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands and siblings lost. They fight for justice and for answers. They are heroic. And I for one count myself honored to serve them.

We will never forget those lost on 9/11/01. We will never forget the sacrifices that so many have made. We will never forget the lives that were saved as well. We will never forget.

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