On September 11, 2001, during my junior year of high school, I was in Psychology class when word spread that terrorists had hijacked four planes on the east coast. By the time I got to Precalculus, Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon was ablaze, and the Twin Towers in New York City had crumbled. Teachers in every classroom abandoned their lesson plans in favor of watching the news footage of the attacks.
We were just naive high schooolers. We didn’t realize we were
watching history unfold in front of our eyes.
After school, I was stunned to see that every cable network suspended their programming. Instead, all that appeared on the screen was a single shot announcing that networks were off the air. News outlets were airing coverage round the clock. Horror stories of people jumping to their deaths from the burning towers were beginning to surface. At the same time, stories of individuals who sacrificed their lives to save others were hitting the airwaves, turning average people into heroes of epic proportions. All air travel had been suspended until further notice. The night of 9/11 was bright and clear. It was the only night it was impossible to mistake a plane for a star. The skies were eerily silent.
In the following days, while crews of firefighters and volunteers tirelessly worked round the clock to pull people from the rubble, American flags hung outside almost every home nationwide. Photos of the missing and deceased dotted windows and lined walls and fences in the cities closest to the attacks. Candlelit memorials formed on sidewalks all over the country, while neighbors stood strong together outside their homes during vigils for those who were lost.
On the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, we starkly remember one of the largest terrorist attacks in our nation’s history.
Lives were lost. Heroes were made.
Terrorists wanted to transform our nation, and that’s exactly what they did.
But not the way they wanted.
The attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and the diverted plane crash in Pennsylvania
formed an unbreakable bond across the country. It brought our entire nation together.
As Americans, we united to celebrate what it means to be free and to comfort
each other in our grief.
We will always remember and honor the 2,977 lives that were lost,
and today we do so more than ever.
We will never forget.