Today is September 11. Today is the 10th anniversary of that horrible, terrorist attack on our great country.
Today is the day all of our lives changed. Today is the day we all remember.
Today, thousands of people love their lives. Today, thousands of people lost loved ones. Today is 9/11.
Today is the day we are most proud to be called Americans. Today is the day we most appreciate how lucky we are to be alive, and healthy; to love, and to be loved.
Today is the day we most cling to our loved ones, because we remember that horrible day, 10 years ago, that we could have lost it all.
On this day, 10 years ago, I was in my fourth grade class. I was in the middle of taking a math test and I remember hearing the class phone ring and my teacher walking to pick it up. I didn’t expect her to tap me on the shoulder and tell me my mother was there to pick me up. As I handed my teacher my test, and packed up my back pack, I remember thinking how odd it was for me to be leaving, not even an hour after I had gotten to school.
I walked to the front office and saw my mother with red, blotchy eyes. I was immediately worried, and asked what was wrong. When we got into the car she told me what had happened; there had been a terrorist attack on our country. People had hijacked an airplane and flown it into a tower in New York City. We were living in Chicago at the time, and everyone thought that we would be attacked next.
When we got home, we went to our neighbors house and watched the news there. I remember being incredibly aware of what was going on, even though I was so young. I saw the second plane fly into the second world tower. We all collapsed to the floor, hysterical, overcome with tears and emotion. I prayed like I had never prayed before.
It was incredibly surreal watching what was going on. I never imagined that I would live through a terrorist attack. I never imagined that I would live through a war. I never imagined that there were people out there who could do something so wretched, so vile, as hijacking a plane and crashing it into a building with thousands of people still in it.
That day, I saw a plane crash into the Twin Towers. I saw people jumping out of buildings, desperate. I saw people crying, blackened from the ash. I saw tears, heard screaming. I watched people run for their lives. I saw a tower fall, like it was nothing by a house of cards. I saw destruction. I saw pure evil. What I saw changed my life.
And yet, what I saw can’t even compare to what so many people had to experience first hand. All the first-responders. All the New Yorkers, who were in the city on that tragic day. All the people who lost loved ones. All the people in those towers. All the people who lost their lives. Flight 93. May God bless their souls.
I pray to God that I am half as brave as all of those heroes. I pray to God that I never forget what happened on this day 10 years ago. I pray to God for all those who lost loved ones, that they find peace in their hearts and hope and grace in God. I pray to God to help the people who committed such an act violence. “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23: 34).
Today is the day I will Never Forget.
“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
– President George W. Bush
”You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.”
– Colin Powell
”The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”
– Rudolph W. Giuliani