UNITED STATES—I am sorry I had to pose this question because even I forgot on Sunday, September 11, 2022, marked 21 years since the attack on America that changed this country as we know it. That was a day that lived in infamy for our country. Two planes flown into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, a plane crashed near the Pentagon and another plane crashed near Camp David aimed at The White House. You can talk to anyone who was of an age of where they were on September 11, 2001 and they can give you vivid detail of where they were and what they were doing.
I was a senior in high school in my pre-calculus course, the TV just happened to be on that day and we saw one of the WTC buildings on fire and smoke billowing out. Then out of nowhere, we witnessed a second plane collide into the second building. Absolute horror, fear and panic set in. An emergency alert comes on the PA system and all students are informed to go home immediately.
The next thing you know is constant news coverage that the United States was under a terrorist attack from Al Queda and they succeeded in shaking the country to its core, but that day united Americans in a way that we have never been united as far as I can remember. No one cared if you were a Democrat or Republican. No one cared if you were rich or poor, it was all about Americans standing strong, united and letting the terrorists know they would not win.
Over 3000 lives were lost that day, many being first responders and firefighters and those inside the WTC buildings who just thought it would be another workday, they had no idea that what was about to transpire would haunt Americans for years to come. Sunday, September 11, 2022, was an odd day because not many news channels had 9/11 as a lead for the news story of the day and that left me a bit upset. This should have been the lead for the day. I don’t care what else is going on in the country, its felt like an afterthought, but I did see video that spanned about 20-30 minutes on one network that really laid out the gut punch our country received on that fatal day and the memories started to flood back for me.
Seeing New York City, seeing people walk and talk, but then seeing that first plane crash into one of the WTC buildings, it all changed. Watching that sent chills down my spine and the hair on my skin stand up as the Air Traffic Control Center was doing their best to get in contact with the operator of that plane no answer. The news starts to trickle out and slight panic begins. No one knows what is going on, we’re at a standstill. I’m hearing and watching more video of things that were taking place behind the scenes that I had NO IDEA about. Its riveting, my attention is hooked on the TV screen, but I’m shocked at the same time that nearly 21 years later I had NO IDEA all these things were taking place.
Then a few minutes after the first plane crashed into one of the WTC buildings the second plane crashes into the other building. Wow, the chills more palatable and unnerving this time around. Go back to my 17 year-old self and I realize whoa, America is indeed under attack. One plane crashing into the WTC could be an accident, two planes crashing, that is not an accident it’s intentional. That is not the worst of the video, we hear about the plane targeting the Pentagon, America’s military headquarters, and then there is world of a plane aimed for The White House. Fear that is the one word I have to describe my feeling that day. Not knowing is beyond scary people and that is what occurred on that fateful day.
However, it was seeing the WTC buildings, not 1, but both of them collapse that became the realization this country would never be the same. The debris, the smoke, people running literally for their lives I just remember watching the news nonstop that entire day after getting home unable to process or understand what was taking place. However, at the same time, what happened the day after 9/11, I cannot remember for the life of me, but that specific day I can detail the entire day like it happened yesterday.
So the big question of the hour is why does it feel more people don’t’ recall what happened on 9/11. I spoke to so many people who said, “Oh, I forgot today was the anniversary.” I mean how can you forget, I guess that could be the trend of daily America, a big event happens and then we forget about it because others things transpire, or the next big even comes along. If there is ever a day for the modern American that should NEVER be forgotten its 9/11. Many lives were lost, many heroes rose to the occasion and our country bonded in a way that it has never occurred in my lifetime.
America was under attack on that fatal day, it changed the notion of airport security forever. Before 9/11 you could go to the airport and not have this massive security check. Nowadays, no sort of liquids, certain amounts, specific ingredients or certain objects that you could bring on a plane you cannot anymore. The lines for security are massive and much longer and you always have that trepidation of what could happen and you reflect on what happened that day. September 11, 2001 is not just a day that will live in infamy, it was the day that changed the United States forever. If you were alive you should never forget it, but remember all those who sacrificed their lives after that fatal day to protect our country.