Throughout history there have been several horrific events, we learn about them in history class all the time. However, up until I hit 11th grade - I'd only lived through one or two - and had no memory of either. As I sat in my mid-morning calculus class, it was just any other day in the life of a typical high school student, I was struggling to understand what the heck my teacher was talking about when another teacher came in and very quietly spoke to our teacher (Ms. Jones - yes, I still remember her name as well). Ms. Jones went over to the class TV and turned on CNN and said we were done with class for the day as there was an emergency situation.
Now you have to understand - I was born in the '80's ... the Cold War was over, I had never lived through a real "war" - yes, there was Desert Storm in the early '90's, but that was a foreign conflict fought overseas. I had never been directly impacted by a violent situation within our borders. I had never even had the bomb training at school my parents had (where you hide under your desk).
When the news came up and showed a combination of live footage and flashback footage of the planes hitting the towers all I could think was - "this has got to be a trailer for an upcoming movie or something". I had never (and have never since then) seen anything like it. It has totally put other things in perspective for me in relation to my family members - my dad was in the Navy during Vietnam, my grandmother was alive during the Great Depression and WWII ... when they tell me about those times, all they ever were to me was stories. Sad stories to be sure that we should learn life lessons from, but stories all the same.
But this - I lived through this. I lived through something that will show up in every history book written from 2002 forward. It's crazy. Someday my son will go to school and he will learn about that tragic day and I'll tell him where I was and how I felt - scared. I was scared - scared for myself, for my family - for all the people in New York who I didn't even know. But I was also proud - proud of the way we as a people came together and helped one another. First responders rushed in (and many died) trying to help their fellow man - going above and beyond the call of duty.
No matter how you feel about the political actions that followed the tragic events of 9/11 - this will always be a day of remembrance for every American who was alive and watching the news that day. Whether you were directly impacted or not, that day solicited strong emotions in us all and I believe it's important to reflect back and remember where you were and how you felt.
Where were you on 9/11 and what emotions were you going through?