Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember

This day is special to me. This day makes me sad. But it makes me happy as well. And so amazingly proud to be an American.

I can't believe it's been 11 years since the September 11 attacks. In a way it feels like yesterday. I remember where I was when I found out it happened. I remember what I was wearing. I remember how I felt. I remember not really understanding what was going on. Until the endless media coverage gave me a first hand look.

I had no idea what the Twin Towers were. And no idea how many people worked in them. Or how much that day would affect our country as it has these past 11 years. Once I understood the severity of the situation I remember feeling depressed. And helpless that I couldn't do anything to help anyone. And scared that I would be next, that my school would be attacked, that my family would be attacked. I felt relieved that I didn't directly know anyone affected.

The weeks that followed were full of emotions for me. I wore red, white and blue. I participated in candle light vigils and I donated what meager money I could being 17 and working part time. I wrote letters to teenagers whose family had been affected to let them know that they were not alone.

September 11th has become like the Titanic, Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust to me. Whenever there is a TV special on any one of those things I have to watch. I'm fascinated. It's almost as if if gather enough info about these things I can understand why they had to happen. And it makes me feel better.

However September 11th is the only one of those I lived through. So it hits a little closer to home. I can't seem to make it through a TV show about it without crying. The same way I can't listen to the song " I'm Proud to be an American" without crying.

One of the many TV specials I've watched recently followed a few survivors from Sept 11th. It told of how they survived, and how they have gone on to live their lives. One survivor in particular is still working and living in NYC. One of his current co workers made a comment to him about how he is always in such a good mood. He told him that unless a plane is flying into your office building, you are having a good day.

I keep thinking about that. And how true it is. Each day is a blessing and a gift.

Some of the images will never leave my head. The first tower actually collapsing when no one ever thought it would. The sound of bodies hitting the ground as helpless people jumped to their deaths rather than be burned alive. The fear and disbelief on the faces of those who managed to make it out. The wreckage of the plane that didn't make it to it's intended destination because of the brave passengers on board.

But I also remember firemen from all over the country answering the call and going to help out. The rescue efforts that continued days and days after the attack, in attempt to give family members some sort of closure. The way we banded together as a country. I remember September 11th and the heroes that came from it. And will be forever grateful for their courage and example.

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