It is the eve of September 11th, and because we are approaching the 10th anniversary of that tragic day, the news reports, radio stations, and Internet are swarmed with images and stories of 9/11.
I am sure there are millions who would love to forget about that day, but I will always remember...
September 11, 2001- I was a completely self-centered high school sophomore who's biggest concerns were how my outfit looked and what my peers thought about me. I strutted into school that day and settled into my desk in Ms. Tuttle's chemistry class.
I remember a lot of the terror of that day.
I remember people were already talking about the plane crash--I didn't find out through a news report, I heard about it all through my friends and announcements over the P.A. system.
I remember asking "What is the World Trade Center?"
I remember school administration restricting teachers from showing us the news reports from the classroom. (I wouldn't catch glimpses of the images until at home that night with my family.)
I remember our school principal announcing that our school was under a "Code Red Alert." I didn't even know our school had color-codes for safety until that day, I had no idea how a "Code Red Alert" would affect the school's daily operation.
I remember hearing when the plane struck the Pentagon. I did not have to ask what that one was...
I remember hearing when the last plane went down in a field in PA.
I remember everyone succumbing to a state of panic. Students were being pulled out of school. It was the first time in my life I felt completely vunerable and unsafe. It was as if everyone felt like a walking target. World Trade Center, Pentagon, Mesquite High School...silly now, but very serious then.
I remember finally seeing the footage at home. The plane crashing into the tower. The images of brothers and sisters jumping out of the windows and plunging to the earth below. The tower tumbling to the ground. The clouds of smoke and ash.
I remember thinking, "This is what Hell must look like."
But I also remember that from the terror, hope gave rise.
I remember people flowing into churches. I remember that as a people with no courage left, we turned to God and cried out to Him in desperate prayer.
I remember regular people doing astonishly heroic things. The police officers and firefighters of Ground Zero who worked tirelessly and sacrificially. Strangers on the street reaching out to help people in need. A plane-full of passengers who sacrificed themselves to save others.
I remember seeing an American pride reborn. Flags flying in all their glory. A million new songs with patriotic rhetoric. People standing to say the Pledge of Allegiance no longer out of obligation, but with duty and purpose. The National Anthem bring tears to people's eyes for the first time in a long time.
I remember a totally, self-centered teenage girl turning into a patriot.
September 11th will always bear great meaning to the people who lived through it. And for the first time, it will bear an even bigger meaning for my family. As my husband leaves to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom, I will remember that we are still fighting because of that day. Heroes are still being born in honor of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on foreign soil. Hope is still rising-even thriving-within our nation that we will overcome the horror of that day.
My hope is that we never have to face terror like this on our own soil again. My hope is that we will never forget the sacrifices made, the lives lost, the strength realized.
I know I will always remember...