I couldn’t believe how quickly it all came back. With the news broadcasting images and recordings, interviewing President Bush and the children of the tragedy–it is like it was just yesterday. Or last year, maybe. But not an entire decade. The emotions are still raw. Tears welled up as I was transported back in time 10 years. Remembering.
Everyone said we would never forget that tragic day, September 11, 2001. The day our country was attacked. An act of war on home soil. Who could have known, on that lovely fall morning, that thousands of lives would be lost? Those who had gone into work just like usual, supporting their families. Kids at school having no way of knowing they would never see their dad or mom again. Wives, at home, watching the news, hands cradling their unborn child, crumbling into broken pieces. Alone.
And there I was, a sophomore in high school. I walked into my French class and Nick S. said something about a plain flying into the World Trade Center. I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was. And Madame Wynn didn’t seem to pay much attention to this student’s announcement. So we went on with class. But by the time I got to my next class, I knew something was seriously wrong. Our teacher took us down to the auditorium. Other classes started trickling in behind us. A projector screen was set up already with the live news coverage.
This was for real.
Terrorists had commandeered American planes and drove them into the World Trade Center. And then we watched as the second plan crashed into the second building. The first skyscraper collapsed. And then the Pentagon was hit. And another planed crashed in Pennsylvania.
I didn’t know what to think, what to feel. I was scared. Would this mean we were at war? Was our town going to be under attack as well? What were we supposed to do next?
We all sat in silence. Hundreds of students and teachers, huddled together. Riveted by the scenes unfolding before them.
The bell rang. Somberly we walked outside and boarded the buses. Discreetly I kept an eye on the skies. At home, the news was turned on right away. How long were we going to watch this? The same images, over and over.
It was torture. But we couldn’t look away.
Life didn’t just go on that day. Everyone, in every town, across America ceased their afternoon activities. Ball fields stood empty. Roads quiet. Each family gathered together, telling one another how much we love each other (because what if we didn’t get to say that before something this tragic happened to us?), watching history unfold before our eyes.
And today, those same tears fill my eyes. There is more understanding now, more anger, more pain.
And I pray God would continue to use this tragedy to draw men until Himself. Because that is the only good that can come out of these ashes.
How vividly do you remember that day? What was your experience?