Our world is so different than it was 14 years ago. September 11th is a day that we will never forget.
My parent’s generation had an awful burden to bear, they lived though the assassination of a beloved President, and for the remainder of their lives, they recounted their memories from that fateful day. For my generation – that burden was transferred to the attacks on September 11th, 2001. The events of that day have been indelibly burned into our psyche.
As a middle school teacher, I used to assign my students to ask their parents “where were you when you heard the news on September 11th?” This was always a profound assignment because parents all shared stories with their children about what they were doing, including their fears and emotions. With each passing year the assignment became more valuable, as students who were not old enough to remember 9/11 could connect to its meaning and importance in a very real and personal way.
We each have our memories of that day. For me, as well as millions of other Americans, I watched in horror as the planes crashed into the building and then I watched the buildings crumble to the ground. I was overwhelmed with grief and sorrow. I recall the phone conversations with family, panic stricken because we had not heard from my brother, who worked just a few blocks from the Pentagon at that time. The relief when we heard he was okay, the stunning realization that our world would never be quite the same again.
Each of the moments; the scenes of ash covered New Yorkers desperate to escape the clouds of debris, the members of Congress uniting on the steps of the Capitol, singing in unison, and the endless pictures of loved ones, stapled to fences, flashed through my mind as the horror of what had just happened began to settle in. I stared at the endless loop of TV news coverage, unable to look away. The images are so fresh in my mind, I can feel the tears just thinking about them.
It is important to look back at the events of September 11th. It is hard to do, but we owe it to those who lost their lives. I may grumble about the long security lines at the airport and long for the 'good old days' when travel was easier, but I know that bad things can happen, and a security check point is a small price to pay for better safety.
September 11th showed us the dangers of terrorism in a horrific way that we will never forget, but it also showed all of us how strong and resilient we could be.