You Said It, Sept. 11, 2011
You Said It readers: On this day marking 10 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we asked people to share their remembrances of that day.
I had just begun chemo a month earlier and was on my way to the hospital on that fateful day. Alas, it has been 10 years and I’m cancer-free. 9/11 will forever be emblazoned in my mind, not for my illness, but for the attacks on our great country. Every day, I am grateful for those who protect our freedom.
I was a freshman in high school. It was a regular day, just like any other day. Except it wasn’t. The sudden, unexpected horror is what sticks with me the most. Millions of people across the United States were having a regular day as well, and then out of nowhere our lives were never the same. 9/11 reminds me to live. Live each day fully alive and give thanks for every single average, regular day given.
My wife and I, both flight attendants, were scheduled to fly that day. She was on her way to the San Francisco airport to fly to St. Louis, then on to London. I was going to fly to Honolulu that afternoon. I watched on TV as the second airliner hit the World Trade Center, and then the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. I knew a few crew who died that day in those planes, also aware that the first ones to die were flight attendants and pilots killed by the hijackers. I had visited the site of the trade center and was there in NYC for the one-year anniversary, in uniform with fellow crew members. May we never forget.
The American way changed that horrible day. We as a people were subject to terror on a grand scale, and it changed us. Our way of life ended with those planes crashing into our soil and iconic buildings. The carefree lifestyle, with the thinking that terror can’t happen here all came crashing down just like the beloved Twin Towers. As we all watched that day, we tasted fear for the first time since Pearl Harbor. Our economy has suffered greatly since, and our confidence has been shaken. Ten years has passed and I feel it is safe to say the terrorists succeeded in hurting us. But, in true American fashion, we have survived and made the world a safer place by eliminating many of the terrorists involved in the attacks.
I had just arrived at my job in Delta and my co-worker said something had happened at the World Trade Center and that they said it might be a terrorist attack. We turned on the TV and just stood in amazement at what was happening. I called to make sure my daughter made it to school all right and then just sat and watched and wondered what might happen to all of us. Being 21 years old at the time, I had a few thoughts of joining the military to seek revenge and justice. I came to realize that playing with guns and Hummers and HALOS might be fun, but things are totally different when there are people out there trying to kill you.
I remember walking into my first class in high school and seeing the first tower hit, then watched as the second one hit. I was so young, but my heart broke without even really knowing the significance of the situation or what was about to happen. When I learned of the terrorists, I am pretty sure I went into shock, realizing my uncle would be going to war. I was so scared my family would lose him. I never imagined any of the kids I was friends with or went to school with would ever have to go to war. Well, they did, and I’ve lost a friend out there while a few others have come home traumatized. They risked and gave up their lives for me, you and the rest of our country. I have great respect for the men and women of our country. They do things a lot of us couldn’t dream of doing, to keep perfect strangers safe. So even if you don’t agree with the war, respect the people who are fighting it. They are fighting for you, too.