Our parent’s generation remembers where they were and what they were doing the moment they heard the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Our generation remembers where we were and what we were doing the day our country was attacked, changing our lives forever.
It was a Tuesday. It was The Kid’s first day of pre-school. She was 3. I remember being in my car, backing out of my garage to drop her off for her big day. The news was on because, unbeknownst to me, the news was on everywhere. A plane had hit Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. At first, the reporter said it was a small plane. I immediately had visions of a Cessna. Then I thought it was a joke. I thought of the “War of the Worlds” radio program of 1938. I remember just laughing it off. Think about it. How could it be possible? This was stuff that only happens in the movies.
Except this wasn’t a movie. By the time I pulled into the parking lot of the school, I knew it wasn’t a joke. At this point, it was confirmed that it was indeed happening and that it wasn’t a Cessna. Other mothers were standing in small groups throughout the schoolhouse lot. I remember trying to put on a brave face for our children. Our sweet, little, innocent children. This was history in the making. To be a chapter in their history books just a few short years from that moment.
We all rushed to our homes to call our loved ones and to sit in front of CNN for days. And days. Lines were tied up. Air traffic was stopped. Everything was quiet. It was surreal. We all ran out to buy flags for our car windows. We all came together in crisis. We loved one another. I remember a deep peace among our neighbors. There were no honking horns because someone sat at a light a nanosecond too long. There was no anger. Anywhere. For a long time.
I also remember the deep sense of loss. I was fortunate to not have lost anyone I knew personally in the attacks, but the people lost were fellow Americans. The hurt was deep. Today marks 12 years since that tragic, absolutely horrific, day. We will always remember the lives lost. We will always remember the heroes. We will never forget the families and friends that suffered and are still suffering.
As I sit here writing this post, I am watching footage of that day. All those feelings I had 12 years ago come rushing back. My heart still hurts to remember. The dread, the tears, the complete sense of loss and helplessness. It has affected all of us this way. We will never forget. We are a changed nation. Our children live in a different world.
Tonight, I pause to remember that day, to pray, to hope for a better future. Tonight, I remember how we came together as one. Tonight, as always, I am proud to be an American.