I was a senior in high school at the time. When the first plane hit, I was in a first hour study hall with just a few other kids. I remember my teacher turning on the radio to listen to the news after he was informed about the first tower being hit by an airplane. Before second hour was over, the news had reported that the second tower had been hit as well as the Pentagon. By lunch time, I was very aware that my country was under attack. Being only seventeen at the time, I soon realized that this act of terror meant that
had entered a new kind of war, and that it would be my generation who would go over seas to fight this new kind of war. When I went to my after-school job, I passed gas stations with lines that were as far as the eyes could see. Long gone were the days of gas prices under one dollar. When I arrived at work, there was a small T.V. at the counter that had been pulled out of the back room, and my co-worker and I watched the footage on the news for hours. Not a soul entered the Hallmark shop that I worked in that night, so we closed the shop two hours early. When I drove to school that morning, my mind was filled with thoughts about SAT scores, the senior play and the Friday night ball game, but when I drove home from work that night, those thoughts couldn’t be farther from my mind. Life as I knew it ~ as every American knew it, would never be the same. It didn’t take me long to realize that my children would never be able to experience the kind of world that I lived in before 9-11, for 9-11 would change everything. America
It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since that dreadful day. While it is important to remember the horrors of that day, it is also important to remember that heroes rose above the ashes that day. Let us never forget the first responders that walked up the steps of those towers, many of them knowing that they would not make it back down. Let us never forget the office workers who stopped to save the lives of others and lost their lives in return. Let us never forget that aboard the same aircraft as the terrorist were civilian men and women fighting in a war that they did not enlist in, for this war did not exist when they woke up that morning.
We can not escape the death of that tragic day, but we can also not escape the heroism that was born that day among our American citizens. The enemy took many things away from us that day, but they can not take away the sacrificial acts of kindness that were shown in offices, stairwells and aircrafts that very same day. Nor can they take away the sacrifices that were made by the soldiers that would proudly put on an American uniform in days to follow and fight for our freedom in a dessert land far away from home, or by the volunteers that would dig through the piles of rubble for the following days and months after the towers collapsed, or by the construction workers that would spend the next ten years turning the piles of ashes and debris into a beautiful memorial for all Americans to honor those who lost their lives on that day. While the enemy took away our innocence and with it thousands of lives on that horrific day, they can not take away the American spirit that existed ten years ago and still exist today.