It was my senior year of high school. As usual, I was rushing to get out the door, when my brother came downstairs and said something about planes hitting buildings or something. I didn't give it much of a second thought, and we ran out the door. Our drive to school was only about 3-5 minutes on average, and while they were talking about it on the radio, we didn't have enough time to get a clear picture of what was going on. We get to school and head to our first classes. There is some buzz in the halls about the events.
My first class was Video Production, and we usually had the news on before class starts. For the first time, I really understand what has been happening. The Pentagon had just been hit. I didn't believe what I was seeing, and most of us just watched in silence as we tried to make sense of it all. We watched as the towers collapsed. Flight 93 crashed as I was walking to my second class. The attacks were all anyone could talk about in the halls.
My AP English teacher (2nd period) was determined to keep us on track that day. We weren't going to watch the news, but were going to carry on as normal as possible. In Acapella, we talked about it and watched the news more. The footage of the collapsing buildings was shown over and over again. At lunch, everyone was huddled around a TV. In AP European History, we were a pretty tight group anyway and loved discussing current events. That day was no different. Most of us had had our fill of watching the destruction, but we couldn't stop talking about it. By then we'd heard some of the more personal stories, which made it just a little bit harder.
I don't remember if I had to work, rehearse, or do homework that afternoon. I remember watching the news again at home and continuing to sort through it all in my head.
The world was forever changed that day.
6 years later, I'm still saddened by our country's loss. Since then, I've been to Ground Zero in NYC twice, and I now drive by the Pentagon every few weeks. I have friends that have been to Iraq and others that work on Capitol Hill. We've all been touched by this in some way, and have come together with a shared determination to not let it happen again. People can debate all day about whether or not the Bush administration is handling the war correctly, or whether we should be in Iraq at all.
That's not the most important thing to me. What's important is knowing that everyone of us has a little bit of hero in us all. When tragedy strikes, we are there for each other.
We should never forget. It's changed our country, and I hope we come out better for it in the end.