UNITED STATES—I was dealt a devastating punch this morning, which just made me come to the realization that many of us forget tragedies so quickly with the constant movement of life. Monday, September 11, 2017, marked the 16 anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States in New York City and Pennsylvania. It’s really bad as an American that I am realizing that I totally forgot about 9/11. I’m not certain if it is the reality that it has been so many years since those cowardly attacks transpired or just the fact that Americans tend to move on with their lives as if nothing ever happened.

We’re talking about events where thousands of people lost their lives when a bunch of punks decided to hijack several airplanes and crash them directly into the Twin Towers in New York City. I can’t help but flashback to my senior year in high school. It was like a moment that I will never forget. It was the first time ever our teacher turned on the TV that sat in our classroom. I had no idea what I was watching, but I saw a twin tower on fire. Note: we did not have sound on the TV so as students it was hard to fathom just what transpired. However, out of nowhere we witnessed a plane crash into the second tower. My face lit up in horror. Our teacher immediately turned off the TV, and we all went into a panic.

The next thing I can recall our principal made an announcement on the PA noting that school was being dismissed and that all students were expected to go directly home, immediately. I get home and turn on the TV to discover the United States was under attack by terrorists. Both planes that crashed into the twin towers were direct results of terrorists looking to instill fear in Americans. September 11, 2001 was like a 24/7 news cycle. One was not able to take his or her eyes off of the TV screen. I mean witnessing both Twin Towers crumble to the ground and wondering about those inside the building, those lives lost, the first responders, the police officers, fire department officials and countless strangers in New York who risked and lost their lives trying to provide aid to those who were injured was devastating.

That fateful day is so horrific because not only was it the first time for most Americans like myself who witnessed something where our country was under attack, it was the fact that thousands of people died. Innocent people lost their lives at the hands of vile, evil cowards. I can’t utter any other word except coward because that is precisely what those people are. Children, innocent children on those planes were killed, in addition to adults. When someone is willing to sacrifice their life in a mission to enact fear and terror on others, those people aren’t just terrorists in my eyes they are cowards and I will not back down from that assertion.

For those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, my heart goes out to you. I cannot begin to fathom or imagine the grief and sorrow that you are enduring on this sad day, which has now been coined Patriots Day. To all Americans, September 11, 2001 may seem like eons ago, but that does not mean we should forget what transpired that day and the level of unity that all Americans felt joining one another to fight against terrorism and prove that nothing will break this great country.