I was 17 on September 11, 2001. I was a Senior in high school and we were in this multi-purpose kind of room getting our pictures taken so that they could have visual class seating charts. The woman taking our picture got a phone call from her husband and she said they thought there was an explosion at the World Trade Center in New York. When I got back to my World Civics class right after that, they already had the news on the TV. I watched with lots of questions. I didn't fully understand what this meant and none of us were sure yet what had happened.
As I walked between my World Civ class and my English class for the next period, the second plane struck the second tower. I missed it because I was in the hallway. I heard a lot of commotion and ran in to see the second tower billowing smoke. I still had lots of questions, a tiny bit more understanding and suddenly lots of fear. This was intentional. Was America under attack? When we heard the Pentagon had been hit as well, everyone started asking if the White House was next. I was still just confused and scared.
It wasn't until later that it hit me what this meant on a personal and individual level for the people who were in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the airplanes. My thoughts went to the grand scale first and then trickled down to the personal, intimate scale. The complete devastation of losing that many people in one day, the idea of losing firemen and police officers who ran in as others were running out, the moms who lost children, the children who lost parents, the friends who lost friends. It's unbelievable.
It's something that has taken on new meaning as I became a mom and have gone through these last almost 2 years as a mom. 9/11 was scary. What's going on with our economy is scary. The future for my children seems to be so scary. We all want to bring our children into a safe world where they can live and grow and flourish. 9/11 at first could make you think that we are bringing children into an unsafe world, but for me, looking back on it, I feel the opposite.
I feel that we live in a country where, when things get really hard, we band together. We fight. We don't accept our circumstances. We push our way out. We have firemen, police officers, military, all who will run in as others are running out. We have people who will stand up and fight for safety, for freedom, for stability and prosperity. Today I remember those people who we lost on 9/11. I pray for their families, because I know that while some have forgotten their loss or at least forgotten the sting of it, those loved ones still live with it everyday. I also say thank you again, year after year, to those who chose to enter the destruction to save those they could.
I believe in America. I hope that this anniversary of 9/11 reminds us how blessed we are to be here. And that even in the midst of difficulty, we will rise up.