Sunday, September 11, 2011

May We Never Forget

10 years ago today, my friend Jenny and I, juniors in college, were walking into our 9:00 A.M. class. We were surprised to see the TV on, and I remember immediately feeling uneasy as I looked at my classmates' faces. Someone said that one of the World Trade Center towers had been hit by a plane. In that moment, we thought that it had been a terrible accident, a plane-landing gone wrong. But a few minutes later, we watched live as the second tower got hit...I was in shock as I tried to digest what I had just witnessed. It was clear that this was no accident. The class was frozen, no one knowing what to do or say. Soon after, we learned about the crash at the Pentagon, and I remember whispering, "What is happening?"
My professor dismissed us shortly after, and I immediately stepped outside to call my parents, the people I always turn to for comfort. I don't remember exactly what we said, other than "I love you." 
The rest of the day is kind of a blur; I know that Jenny and I spent the rest of the day in the dorms, glued to the TV. It was, and still is, so hard to believe that mankind is capable of such horrific acts. At the age of 20, it was a hard realization to make.

Two years ago, nearly 8 years after that tragic day, I made my first visit to New York City. My friend Deanna and I went on a ferry ride to Ellis Island. As we looked back at the skyline, I couldn't help but think about the two towers that were missing.
After our tour of Ellis Island was complete, we made our way to Ground Zero. I was shocked to see that even 8 years later, the site was still so desolate. 
Next to Ground Zero, we saw a powerful memorial on the wall of a firehouse:

My heart aches for the loved ones of those we lost on September 11, 2001. This is a day to remember how fortunate we are to have our friends and family with us, and to tell them how much we love them. This is a day to thank those men and women who live their lives to protect our freedom and keep us safe. This is a day that none of us should ever forget.

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