I can not speak for the rest of the country. I hope they all feel the same way. But all I can say is that New Yorkers will never forget what 9/11 means.
I’m sure you can ask any adult what they were doing on 9/11 and they can tell you. But New Yorkers will give you the play by play of their day, with both pride and sadness.
For me, I was a senior in High School. It was Physics class. There was a substitute that day; I was sitting next to one of my good friends when the Principal got on the loud speaker saying that a plane flew into one of the World Trade Center buildings.
My friend and I looked at each other and laughed – what kind of idiot flies into a building in NYC. How can you miss those things, they’re so big.
Since this was before smartphones and the internet at our finger tips there was no Googling. We just thought someone misjudged their flight path and flew into a building.
Not too long after (at least that’s what it felt like) we were told a second plane flew into the second World Trade Center building.
The rest of the day kind of went by in a blur for me after that. I did not have a full schedule senior year so I left in the middle of the day, but I remember barely being able to leave that day since the school was on a pseudo lock down because know one knew what the hell was going on.
I remember trying to call my parents on my cellphone on the way home (There were cellphones, just no smart phones; you really couldn’t even text) and not being able to. The cell towers were all jammed up.
When I was younger my father actually used to work in NYC (and I would find out later that for a brief time he worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings). So when I finally got home the house phone was ringing off the hook – family from all over the country were calling to make sure my dad was okay.
In the hours, days, weeks, months and years to follow on a pretty regular basis New Yorkers were reminded of all the lives lost that day. Not only the people who worked in the buildings, or those on the flight, but the first responders who would die both immediately and years later.
Then it became about the 9/11 Memorial and the construction of the Freedom Tower. And every year, as if we forgot, on 9/11 at the time of the towers being hit there is a reading of the names of those who’s lives were lost.
This past summer my family and I got the opportunity to go down to the Freedom Tower and One World Observatory. It was absolutely breathtaking. Knowing what happened right where I was standing changed everything for Americans. Knowing that the world changed after 9/11/2001.
I know when we’re not exposed to something on regular basis that we tend to forget. I just ask that as it gets further and further away from 9/11/2001 that we not forget. We not forget the innocent lives that were lost that day; mothers, fathers, sons and daughters just going about their life. The Police Officers and Firefighters running into the smoke and debris, to do their job. That we not forget that there are people out there that hate Americans just because we’re Americans.
The minute that we forget what happened in downtown NYC, or in Shanksville PA will be the day we are doomed to repeat history.
It seems like just yesterday that I was a little girl in my mother’s office in NYC, looking out the window asking her what “those buildings were” and her response was The Twin Towers. And I certainly never thought the NYC skyline would not include those towers one day. All these years later, it’s still hard to believe that the skyline does not include those buildings. Something is definitely missing.