UNITED STATES—It is hard to fathom that it has been 18 years since the United States was dramatically changed forever when we were attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. It was a day that forever changed this country as we know it. Never have we seen such violence, horror and absolute devastation in this country. Every American who was born at the time and of age can vividly let you know where they were and what they were doing at the time those attacks transpired.

I was in high school in my Pre-Calculus class. We were joking and laughing about something. Out of the blue, our teacher comes back into the classroom and immediately turns on the TV that we had mounted in the ceiling corner. Yes, we had TVs in our classrooms, but they were rarely used. So I knew something was up to see the TV turned on. We see the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City. One of the buildings is on fire and smoke is billowing from it.

Out of nowhere we see a plane crash into the second building. This is absolute horror. Like I have no idea what is going on. Was this a mistake, an accident or was this intentional? Our teacher suddenly turns the TV off, and the students are in a panic. Next thing we know, the principal comes on the microphone and dismisses school immediately, informing all students to go directly home ASAP. Uh-oh, this is serious. I get home turn on the TV and discover that the country was under attack by terrorists. It was a literally a 24/7 news cycle with everyone speculating on what has transpired.

It gets worse because I soon discover two more planes were hijacked, one that planned to attack the Pentagon, and another crashing in a field near The White House. This was a well-thought out execution and if not for some heroes taking over those plans to prevent the terrorists from completing their mission more people would have lost their lives. In total, close to 3,000 people were killed on 9/11/01. It was massive; a vast majority from inside the World Trade Center buildings and others killed included police officers and firefighters who tried to rescue those who were trapped and in need of assistance.

Our country was dealt a devastating blow, and I feel like for months after the incident it stayed with us. However, it seems since 2001 our country has almost forgotten about 9/11 and that concerns me greatly. Yes, life goes on, but that day changed this country and I sometimes grapple with why we don’t talk more about September 11, until the month of September gets closer to us. September 11, 2019, will mark 18 years since New York City was completely changed forever.

I think we forget about the police officers, paramedics and firefighters, who lost their lives to save others. I tip my hat off to them, because sometimes I feel they don’t get the accolades they deserve. I know for many they don’t expect it or even want it, but I believe it is important. Let me make this crystal clear, Wednesday is a day that should be a national holiday. This is NOT for us to have a day off or to close businesses or federal governments, this is for reflection.

Taking the day to honor the lives lost and how our country bounced back during one of our darkest times that I can recall during my lifetime. Life goes on for many Americans, and some probably don’t realize or may not even care that 9/11 is such an important day and that is a disaster. Of course it impacts those who lost loved ones or friends during 9/11, but it is important for every single American those who were alive and those who weren’t that the United States was forever changed by that day and it’s something we should never forget.