We didn’t know what that day would bring. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, started out with clear skies and so much promise.
Kids off to school.
Mom and dad off to work.
People getting to their jobs, some running late, some arriving early.
As the morning began, we had no idea what was planned. We had no idea others wanted to hurt us. We had no idea the world was about to change.
At 8:30 that morning, some wondered what they would have for lunch that day, or maybe if they would be late picking up the kids from school. Some may have thought about their birthday party the weekend before, or what movie they would go to see the next. A new military wife was just getting used to the new PX, and how the Commissary worked, she wasn’t thinking too much of her husband going to war.
Then at 8:45 am…that all changed as the first plane flew into the World Trade Center.
And a little after 9:00 am, we knew, this wasn’t some random accident when the second plane hit. Someone was doing this. Someone was attacking us and life would be forever changed.
At 9:45 am, a plane flew into the Pentagon. For so many of us, this was surreal. Something we had only seen in disaster movies. Something that didn’t really happen in real life.
And then the towers fell, first the south tower, then the north tower, we could not believe this was happening. We could not believe what we were watching.
As the moments went by, we were glued to our television sets. A college student, wondering what this meant for the US, for the World. A young mom, rocking her baby girl, wondering what this meant for her future. A military wife, knowing in her heart that this was the start of something that would change the military forever.
And as we waited and wondered and prayed…
As we hoped and cried and reached out...
As we listened to our leaders try to explain what was going on…
We tried to make sense of all of this. We tried to make sense of what we were watching. We tried to understand what going on but all we saw was a tragedy. One we never would have expected.
Almost 3,000 people lost their lives that day, right here in America. The unthinkable was a reality. A new threat that we still have today. Terrorism wasn’t so front and center as it is now.
Before 9/11, we knew terrorism existed. We knew what terrorism was, but not on this level. Not right here in front of us.
In the days and weeks after 9/11, America came together in a way I had never seen before and haven’t seen since. I remember gathering at a local church, packed with people, to pay our respects, to mourn together, to not go through this alone.
We all felt like family. We were all in this together. We had to be, that was the only way we could get through it.
And now, all these years later, we still think of those who lost their lives on that day, and the days after. From the first responders to those who serve in the military.
We think of their loved ones, those who mourn on a personal level. Those who never thought that saying goodbye that morning would be the last time. And for those who never 100% knew what happened to their family members.
We think of the gold star spouses, and family members, fighting the war on terror. We think of those who are still getting deployed, and who are still fighting for our freedom, against those who want to hurt us.
We can’t forget those who went into the rubble, to help find survivors. Those that were a caring heart in a sea of craziness. Those who worked tirelessly to help those in need.
“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” – Author David Levithan
As we head into the 20th anniversary of this tragedy, I will say a prayer for those who are still missing their loved ones. For those who were shaken by what happened in a very personal way. For those who were too young to remember, but still, feel the effects.
I will say a prayer for our military, those who have deployed, and those who will. For their families, and those that love them. For the future and the hope that this enemy can be defeated someday.
And while the years will pass, and time will go on, I hope we never forget the spirit and the love that was shown in our time of tragedy, as our country came together, and as we tried to make sense of everything that happened on that September day. I know I never will.