I can’t believe it’s been 7 years. I can’t believe that one day in history can change so many lives, and leave such a lasting impression. I think I will always remember the events of that day- the fear, the confusion, the surprise that something like that could happen to US! We were supposed to be invincible. Isn’t that what they taught us growing up?
The sequence of events will forever be burned in my mind. I woke up to the news, but I thought that it was “just” a bomb. The most devastating thing that I had seen up until then was the bombing of Oklahoma City, so I thought it was more of the same. It was sad, but it was isolated and I wasn’t too concerned. I went to class- and then the second plane hit. Then the panic set in. People all over campus were glued to any TV available. It was pandemonium. I was terrified that this was the beginning of WWIII and we were all going to get killed by nukes.
I had ridden to campus with my brother, and I couldn’t find him. I called his cell phone multiple times with no answer. Hysteria was starting to set in. (Ok, really, I do tend to go from 0 to FREAK OUT really fast, so hysteria really wasn’t that big of a jump for me.) I was running all over campus trying to locate him- and I finally did. In the cafeteria. Eating a slice of pizza. Not really caring that we could all be dead in a minute. I wanted to slap him…. Especially when I told him that we needed to get home and he told me that I needed to chill out and let him finish eating first. That’s my brother for you.
I was scheduled to work that day, but I didn’t want to leave my house. My mom convinced me to go try and do something semi-normal, so I went. I remember we locked our doors, turned out the lights, and all sat behind the cash registers with the radio on. I don’t know what we thought would happen, but we were so terrified that we really just wanted to hide. We had family and friends that lived in and around NYC. Everyone was trying frantically to get through but the lines were all busy. Luckily everyone we loved was accounted for. What a relief that was!
The following days are a blur. I attended multiple candlelight vigils and my eyes were glued to the television. I was terrified to be alone, but I didn’t want to be around people, either. Eventually, I started to get back to normal. I don’t know what it took to knock me out of my funk, but something must have. Did I think that it would have a lasting effect on me? Not really. As much as I freak out about things, I can usually let them go pretty easily.
To this day, I get nervous when I hear an airplane flying low. Not really a good thing, since I lived about 5 minutes from an airport for a little over a year. I’m not as secure in the thought that I’m “safe.” I’m more skeptical, and I’m not sure that I like that.
However, I will NEVER forget how so many people rallied together during that time to show support and love for our country. I won’t forget the random acts of kindness that ran rampant through those days. Never in my life have I felt so much pride in the American people. Of course, that all eventually dwindled, and people started to try and profit off of the losses of others, but nothing will take away that short amount of time when I could say “THIS is what it’s all about. THIS is what so many people fought and died for. It WASN’T all in vain. WE WON’T LET IT BE.”
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people who lost loved ones on that terrible day, and in related events since. To the many Americans who left their lives to aid those less fortunate. To all of the men and women who risked their lives to pick up the pieces of a wounded nation. To all of the people who continue to serve in the Armed Forces overseas and protecting our borders at Home. Thank you. You are appreciated, and you are missed.