Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later: Never Forget

{photo  of JFK Museum, Boston, MA}
It’s September 11th.  I don’t think a year will go by that I don’t wake up on this day and remember exactly what happened and what I was doing.  Later today I’ll be enjoying some time with my family, but I can’t help but think about all those who lost their lives that day ten years ago.
On this day in 2001, I was just waking up in my college dorm room as a freshman.  I logged onto yahoo to check my email and while it loaded, I glanced at the top news stories like I always did.  When I read that a plane crashed into one of the WTC’s in NYC, I turned on the news.  Just then, the second plane had crashed.  My roommate Amy returned home from breakfast just then and I told her what was happening.  Together we worried and speculated about what might happen next.
Classes were being canceled and students were being ushered into the theater which had the national news being played on the big screens.  I tried calling my parents repeatedly, but phones were busy.  We all cried, we all prayed.  I’m not a religious person, not in the least, but I prayed so hard that day to some higher power, somewhere.  I was in the middle of nowhere in Vermont, but at this point I don’t know that any of us truly felt safe.  Anything could have happened.
It was only the second week of school, so us freshmen were in a tough place.  We were away from our families, uncertain of the near future, and barely knew each other.  I’ll always remember sitting in the lounge of my dorm with this tall, quiet guy.  I’d never seen him before, but the two of us sat on either side of the room watching the coverage on TV in complete silence, though sometimes remarking to each other how shocking it all was.  For the next four years, every time I saw him, I thought of that day.
I can remember watching in horror as the two towers fell to the ground.  I can remember a candlelight vigil around the pond that night.  I can remember the overwhelming sense of patriotism that spread around not only our campus but the nation.  I can remember it was the birthday of someone I started to become friends with, and I wished him the most somber “happy birthday” I’ve ever wished in my life.  I can remember hearing that a boy from my hometown was working on the 89th floor of one of the World Trade Centers.  I can remember hearing that he called his mother after the first plane hit and that he was going to get out.  I can remember later finding out that he never did.
That day, an entire country made a promise to those whose lives were taken.  We promised to never forget.  And we never will.
September 11, 2001-2011.

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