I haven't forgotten where I was on that fateful day. It was my sophomore year of high school, I walked in to my science class and sat down when my classmate who sat in front of me turned around to tell me what had happened. It made no sense and none of us could wrap our heads around it. There were a lot of reports about other events besides just the plans hitting the towers. Threats that made me wonder if my own parents were safe.
My mom works for a state department and my dad often traveled to DC and VA for work, could he have been caught in this mess?
Absolute terror was all I felt.
Eventually I was able to get to the office and get a hold of my mom, she was ok. I don't believe we knew where my dad was at that point. The rest of the events from that point until we were all home together were a blur.
I remember watching the news and footage over and over. Unsure if these was "the end" of the what we learned were terrorist attacks or just the beginning. Watching the President declaring war against whoever had done this.
We all slept in the living room together for several days. My mom and dad, didn't go to work for a few days as job sites were locked down. We were grateful to just be together. Alive. So many others were not.
Later my dad told us he was doing repairs at our areas largest newspaper building. He recapped the mass chaos, people running around, newspaper prints flying it sounded almost as if it were something out of a cartoon - except it wasn't. It was real.
Our nation pulled together strangers helped strangers. We were all changed. So many lost their lives. So many signed up to fight for our country, our freedom, and against these terrorists. So many of those people died in this war. Classmates, neighbors, friends of friends, "kids" my age.
Several years later, as an adult, I had a chance to visit NY. It was about the time they had just began to break ground on the memorial. The skyline looked so empty, still. A gaping hole where the towers once stood. Standing on that sacred ground, you could feel the emotions, it was like you could see the blood shed and feel the connection who those who never left there.
And now today, 12 years late, I wonder if my children will ever understand the gravity of what happened this day. I never far thought that there may have been an event in my lifetime that would make it to history books. Something they will learn about in school and come how and ask me if I remember.
I just hope I can do them justice in explaining it in a way they truly understand. I hope they understand the sacrifice that our armed forces make to ensure this won't happen again. But reality is, I can't promise it won't happen again. Chances are they may very well experience something as catastrophic as the events that day. And if heaven forbid they do, I pray I can help them understand and cope.