I was in 8th grade. Social studies class. It was about time for us to switch classes and instead the teacher got a call. He quickly stood up, closed the shades on all the windows and locked the door to our classroom.
No one knew what was going on. We just sat there.
Was there an intruder in our school?
Were we in immediate danger?
Was there an emergency?
No one knew.
About 15 minutes later, the phone rang again. The teacher stood up with tears in his eyes and told us that there had been a terrorist attack. And we were on lock down as a precaution.
At that time, we didn’t know about the details, we didn’t know there was more than one plane or more than one place was targeted.
Again we sat there. Scared. Silently. Try to keep a room full of 14 year olds quiet… that day it wasn’t a problem.
I remember eventually they turned on the TV and we all sat and watched the news. Again, still not fully understanding what happened.
Yes to many, I was just a baby when this happened, but it affected me just the same. I remember sitting up all night watching the news with my parents. I remember reading every magazine and newspaper article I could get my hands on for months. I remember listening to the President speak every time he got on to address the nation. Listening intently, trying to learn everything I could about our country, how this happened and what we were going to do to prevent it from happening again.
Honestly, I’ve done this ever since. I was raised by very patriotic parents. They are blue collar, hard working, red blooded Americans who love this country. And I am no different.
As an adult, there is a reason I chose volunteering for the Veterans the way I have. There is a reason I chose spending over 6 years and more hours than I can begin to calculate raising money for our local first responders and their families.
I always think back to that footage. To watching the men and women walk into a wall of smoke, no clue what was in front of them, no idea what they might encounter, but still doing so because they pulled their gear on every day to serve and protect those who need it. That has always pushed me in my volunteer work, in my support efforts, and in my true, deep connection with those who serve and protect; military and local.
Today I woke up, remembered what day it was and cried. And I have several times throughout the day as I’ve reflected on the events of Sept 11, 2001 and on the way we all felt that day.
And while yes, It’s heartbreaking…it also fills me with so much pride and honor. Pride to call this amazing country my home. Pride to have been privileged enough to create such lasting relationships with so many amazing people who protect and serve every day. And more honor that I can even begin to explain to even know them.
So yes, I remember. I remember where I was when the world stopped turning. I remember the way it changed me. And I remember the way it’s pushed me ever since.
Where were you?