The memories of this day eleven years ago are seared into my memory, and I want to keep it that way. I don't want to ever forget. I went to my soccer class (don't judge my rigorous academic schedule) and about half way through, around 9am, a kid rode up on his bike saying a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Shortly thereafter, I left the field to head back to the sorority house. I didn't know at the time exactly what was going on. When I arrived back to the house, the TV was on in the "fishbowl" upstairs and I saw the second plane hit the tower. It was a replay of the second plane hitting, but at that moment, I thought it was live and immediately knew this was no accident.
I was glued to the coverage all day. Feeling so helpless, shocked, sad, angry, and scared. I remember seeing the people "jumping" from the buildings and learning of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and in the field in Pennsylvania. I truly cannot even imagine the fear that the people trapped on those upper floors of the Towers faced that day. And, I don't think of them as jumping to their deaths... they were going to die one way or another, but I truly think they were forced out by the fire, smoke and heat. I remember the rumors swirling... another plane was en route to LA and another to Chicago to presumably take out the Sears Tower. We didn't know what to do, so we went to donate blood. Only, we never even got to because there were so many people doing the same thing... trying to do anything they could besides pray on that awful day.
Any time there is coverage on the September 11th attacks, I feel compelled to watch. It makes me so mad to this day, but I don't ever want to forget that day and the people who lost their lives or the people who ran in and up the buildings when others were running down, out and away, nor do I want to forget how united we were as a nation after the events of September 11th. No one cared about political party, race, sexual orientation, social status, religion, etc. We were a united America, mourning an unthinkable tragedy and celebrating the heroes that did what many of us could not fathom.
I may have only been a 19 year old sophomore in college, but that day impacted me in so many ways, good and bad. To this day, I still have recurring nightmares about planes crashing into buildings or the water or a field and about terrorists attacking me. I cannot imagine having actually lived through it, not just via images on a television from over a thousand miles away. I would never wish for something like that to happen again, but I do long for the unity that we experienced afterward. It is a shame that it takes a devastating tragedy such as 9/11 to bring us together in that way.
May the nearly 3,000 innocent souls who lost their lives that day rest in peace and may God always bless America.