A tragic moment in time that most Americans never believed they would ever see. Time stood still. Tears fell. Fear took over. We asked ourselves, “Why?!”. We asked ourselves, “How?!”. We said that we would never forget what happened on that horrifying day. On September 11, 2001, I was a senior in college. I had a test in one of my classes. I was unaware of what had happened as I took I-27 to school that morning. I remember jamming out to Bon Jovi in my car. Volume was turned up high, and I was clueless. I got to school and walked into the JBK (Jack B. Kelley) Student Center on the campus of West Texas A&M University. Everyone was quiet. They were all gathered around the television, not saying a word. I walked up to someone and asked what was going on. She told me that a plane had been flown into the World Trade Center towers. I lost my breath. I immediately had that look on my face that everyone else did. Jaw dropped to the floor. Eyes tearing up as continued coverage was on television. Then it happened. The South tower collapsed. The crowd of people surrounding the television let out a hauntingly, collective gasp. Shock multiplied exponentially. I remember one young lady saying that if anyone wanted to pray, they could go sit with her. Nobody moved. I do not believe that anyone could. I know that I couldn’t. The horror of what we had just witnessed was too much to process. It was debilitating.
Test time was coming up rather soon. My mind was shattered by what I had just seen. My heart broken and fractured more than I can even describe. Now, I had to take a test?! Needless to say that all of us had other things on our minds. We took the test. I am unaware of what others made on their tests, but I did not make the best of grades. I had planned to discuss a retake with my professor, who was in Florida at the time and was unable to get back home for a long while. I remember after the test I just walked around campus like a zombie. It was eerily quiet. No planes flying overhead. Nobody running around, laughing with their friends. I ran into a friend of mine. It was good to see her. We were both afraid. We did not know what we needed to do regarding our children. My daughters were 9 and 7 years old. I wanted nothing more than to drive as fast as possible to get them and just hold on to them. I did just that. I gathered them up, and I just did not want to let go of them. I took them home, and they asked me why I had been crying. I explained to them, as much as possible, what happened. I allowed them to watch what happened. I explained that many people died, and that it was done out of hatred. Being little kids, they listened and watched for a little while and went to play. Oh, to have the innocence of those little girls that day. They had no worries. They felt bad for the people hurt and killed, but they had no worries.
I had a huge fear of hearing planes fly over my home for several days after that happened. I would go into panic attacks, cry uncontrollably, and constantly check on my children to make sure they were safe in their beds at night.
Today, I still feel sadness about hatred going on in this world. I hear people saying things and posting things on Facebook about how they will never forget. Yet, I’m sure some of those same people are the ones in security lines at the airport complaining that they have to stand there and wait. That they have to get their carry-ons scanned and checked. It seems that “I will never forget” is only applicable outside of the airport, ironically enough. I am not a fan of standing in long lines, but I DO know why I have to. I have no problem with being searched or patted down appropriately. Why? Because I WILL NEVER FORGET! There is too much good in life to complain about someone trying to keep you safe.
Please, always remember that first plane hitting and then the second. Always remember the plumes of smoke from the towers crumbling on top of innocent people. Always remember the first responders who left family and friends behind by doing their jobs. There is no good reason that we cannot be loving toward someone else on every other day. We, as an entitled society, are so quick to judge and expect more for ourselves. We believe we deserve special treatment for one reason or another. We believe we have the right to treat people poorly when we do not get what we want. Anger is a heavy burden that so many carry around for multiple reasons. When is it going to be too heavy? When is it time to put it down? When is it time to start loving those around us whether or not we agree with their political, religious, or lifestyle beliefs? Stop the hate. Stop the anger. Start caring, loving, and reaching out a hand to those in need.
God bless you.