I remember that morning like it was yesterday. It was one of those moments in life that you will always remember where you were when you heard. My parents recall moments similar like when Elvis died or when the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated over the Atlantic. That moment in my life was the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
I was a senior in high school. We had just started first period, which, for me, was Statistics. We were getting settled in when the whispers started going around. "Did you hear?" "The World Trade Center just exploded!" "What's going on?" Finally, my teacher decided to turn on the TV so we could figure it out, and that's when the horror begun. Fear, sadness, and anger quickly began to take over our classroom. We were glued to the TV, trying to make sense of it all. That's when the second plane hit. No one said a word. What was there to say? The rest of the day was a blur of tragic news reports, friends and family calling to make sure everyone was okay, and the realization that our lives had just changed forever.
At that point in my life, I had never been to New York City. I went for the first time after I graduated the following June. We visited Ground Zero, and the fire below was still smoldering. I realized we were standing on the grave site of over 2,000 people. I tried to come to terms with what happened and to think about the horrors of that day. People were taking pictures, but I could barely stand.
The next time I visited New York City was almost 7 years later. I have spent much of the past two years there for work, and I finally made it down to Ground Zero once again. My emotions upon visiting it a second time were vastly different. The massive pile of rubble is gone, and in its place stands a magnificent building. The city has rebuilt, and while our country is still strongly divided on a lot of issues from that day, we are united in one thing. That no matter what happens, we will prevail, we will survive, we will rebuild.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of September 11th. A lot of news programs and companies are sponsoring events to remember those who passed away. We've seen old pictures and news stories, but they are no easier to read or view now. I see them and my stomach lurches. Those were people . . . who died. People who had their lives taken away from them. I know it is a gesture out of respect to relive those moments and to honor those who have fallen, but for me, it is just too painful (and I was not personally affected).
I want to honor those who passed away, but I'm afraid I'll burst out in tears in public. I've decided I will honor them in my own special way. By writing this article. I hope this starts a BBS forum where Whyvillians can show their respect and reflect. I want to let all of those who perished know that they are not forgotten. They live on in our hearts. I want to remember that life is fragile, and can end way too soon. And above all, I hope to remind everyone that the greatest gift we all have is love. And that despite our differences, we should love each other, and teach our children that, so hopefully in the future, this will never happen again.