Monday, September 12, 2011


We will never forget. How could we? 10 years ago today, I was laying my clothes out on a rickety ironing board, eyes glued to my 13 inch screen television set. It was the Today Show and Matt Lauer and Katie Couric were unsure yet professional. Something had caused one of the World Trade Center towers to explode in a ball of fire and white smoke. Was it a plane? A small plane couldn’t have caused such damage, could it? Was it a bomb? They took eye witness reports from New York City commuters who were just beginning their day. They weren’t sure either. It could have been plane. Some say it was a large plane, maybe a commercial airline. But what would that mean?  Was it an accident? When you ask people about that day, most will say they remember the skies being so incredibly clear. The sunshine that day was remarkable. There was something about the sky on that Tuesday morning that makes us remember. I remember. And then, at 9:03 am, there was another explosion in the second tower, and this time it was clear that it was indeed a plane flying directly into it. On purpose. We were under attack. We were at war. Now that we know all that we know, all these years later -- 10 years later to be exact, it’s almost frightening to recall how confused and in the dark we were then. Hundreds of New Yorkers stood in silence with their mouths agape and their necks angled towards the sky. What was happening? No one knew. No one knew planes had been hijacked yet. No one knew there was more death and devastation to come. No one knew then, but knowing what we know now, we will never, ever forget. How could we? Then the Pentagon was hit by a plane and yet another plane fell from the sky and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. What was happening? And what would happen next? September 11, 2001 is marked as the day that changed America. And when those two towers crumbled to the ground, it became the nightmare that changed the world. I remember. I was thinking, “There are people in there!” They must have been trying to evacuate, they must have packed the stairwells, clinging to each other in the darkness and chaos. And then, as if the smoke and the fear wasn’t enough to suffocate them, the walls caved in on them and trapped them while we on the outside breathed the fresh air and prayed for their souls. And just as the black smoke of the towers’ fires hovered above the city, we soon pieced together the reality of a heavy fog of hatred and misguided religion that also hung over us. Over time, despite the conspiracy theories and the pointed fingers of blame, we did band together. The sight of a man or woman in uniform made us grateful, proud and humbled. The thought of those first responders rushing to the scene while everyone else was doing whatever they could to get away from it. Those who made it out, only to go back in and save more lives, you can say they truly died for us. We may hear the word hero and maybe even use it to describe a good person every now and then, but hero was defined on that very morning. In the sky and on the ground, there were heroes all around us. And now we’ll never fly the same, we’ll never see the same sky line, we’ll never be the same ever again. And we’ll never, ever forget.

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