I Will Always Remember

It seems like we are a generation built on “Where were you when…?” In my life, as I approach thirty, there have been several historic moments that have become such a part of the daily scenery, or etched in our memories always. Where were you when the Challenger exploded? I was sitting in a fourth grade class room in California, when the principal came in to break the news. Where were you when the OJ verdict was read? I was on the North Campus at U of M, where the profs let us out of class early to hear the verdict read live on TV. Where were you when Columbine happened? I was travelling down PCH on a business trip with a co-worker who happened to be from Littleton, and who spent several hours trying to make sure that his daughter, a high school student, was okay.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I vividly remember that morning, like most people, I’m sure. I was at work. My company had built a new office, and our cubicle set up was still a bit odd to us – we sat in pods, four of us in one row, four behind us in another row, with filing cabinets and meeting tables in the middle for team projects. After the first plane hit, I remember my boss walking down the middle of the pod and telling us, “A plane flew into the World Trade Center in New York.” No one had any idea at the time the extent of what would follow. We all assumed it was an accident.

My co-workers and I then started reading the news websites, such as CNN or MSNBC – so when the second plane hit the other tower, and we realized that, no it wasn’t an accident, we were stunned. I remember that day trying to access the news sites was hard – they had such a high volume of people trying to get online to read about what was happening, the pages were slow to appear, if at all.

We gave up on work. My coworkers and I gathered in the company cafeteria, engrossed in the live coverage unfolding before our eyes on the television. I remember hugging a co-worker as she sobbed when the second tower collapsed. The whole day, we watched TV in a numb state, in disbelief.

At the end of the day, we went to our homes to find school events cancelled, government offices closed, and major public areas, such as malls, closed as well.

I remember how blue the sky was.

It’s amazing – without actually having been personally touched by the events – I knew no one on the planes, no one in the Towers or the Pentagon – the events touched me. The events of this date, five years ago, have changed the country we were, and now we’ve become something else.

No doubt, the world can be a scary place. Having always been afraid of flying, I am no less scared post 9/11. But, the world is full of goodness and grace and people who make differences in lives, and people who love and innocence and wonderment and all of that – it’s still there. We are definitely a changed nation – but we’re enduring, and we’re strong.

Two weeks after September 11, 2001, I found out that I was pregnant for The Princess. No doubt that she was probably conceived a few days before 9/11. Realizing the kind of world I was bringing a child into was tough – the wounds had not yet scabbed over. All of the sudden, I began looking at things through the eyes of a parent. I wish I could say that the lives of my children will always be carefree and untouched, but I know this generation will grow up with a vocabulary that I didn’t have to know as a kid – words like “red alert” and “terrorism”. But, I hope that despite that, my children don’t live their lives in fear, and instead realize how truly blessed we are each day.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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