We all remember where we were at that moment, where were you?
It was fifteen years ago today the world changed. The nation was attacked. We all remember where we were. We all remember the time we first saw it. I myself was in elementary school. Being on the west coast it was my mother who woke me up to show me the horror taking place on the TV.
I was eleven years old. So like any other morning it began with my mother waking me up telling me to get ready for school. Although, this particular morning she didn’t say that. She abruptly said, “Sean, hurry up! Come watch the TV.” Thinking it was a friend of hers on some morning show, I slowly stumbled out of bed.
As I threw on a robe I walked downstairs to see what she was so jittery about. It was there I first saw it. The north tower was on fire. An eleven year old me could hardly grasp the idea of someone intentionally crashing a plane into a building. The entire idea of it was impossible.
As I sat on the couch in disbelief my mother paced back and forth on the phone with my father. He was out of town on business and was on his way to the airport in San Antonio when it happened. She hung up the phone as he was going to see what was going on, if his flight was still leaving on time or not. Then, the unthinkable happens… again.
The south tower gets struck. On live TV. The entire world witnesses it happen. Everyone is realizing quickly, this is no accident. I hear my mother next to me saying this is going to be in the history books. The day the leader of the free world was attacked, on its own soil. I have to run upstairs to get ready for school. When I come back down there are reports of a plane hitting the pentagon and one crashing in a field.
My mother doesn’t want me to watch it anymore and takes me to school. Even at an elementary school, all the TV’s were airing the news. Every teacher standing aside their students in their respective classrooms. Watching in horror as more and more details and speculation unfold.
The end of the school day slowly creeped up. When I walked over to where my mother picks me up I see her sitting in the car. She is usually late, but not today. I jump in the back seat and she is telling me my father is stuck in Texas. All the airports are closed for now. He will be renting a car and driving home. He got home three days later due to all the traffic from airport closures.
A couple months ago I was in New York. I was able to find some free time to get to the new One World Trade Center. It’s a miraculous building, it’s a little shorter than the World Trade Centers but with its antennas, its a bit taller. The 9/11 Memorial Museum had just opened not long before I was there. Going inside that brings you right back to that day. The emotions racing through you, the memories you’ve forgotten, all come rushing back as you hear individuals stories. People calling loved ones from the 87th floor of the tower. Witnessing an object strike the other tower. Telling them they are safe and that they love them. Saying it was intense would be an understatement.
The world is full of hate and unjustified attacks. September 11, 2001 the United States saw the capable evils on its own soil. So ask yourself, where were you 15 years ago?