The solemn day, deeply ingrained in our memory and in our hearts, will never be forgotten. September 11, 2001, the day that changed our lives forever.
Do you remember where you were when America was shaken to its core?
I do, and it was one of the scariest and longest days of my life.
That Tuesday morning started like any other day for me. I had an early shift at work, so I was up before sunrise. I lived in Denver, Colorado at the time and worked as a cashier at a neighborhood convenient store. It was still dark out when I arrived at work. The weather was chilly, but not unusual for that time of year. My work day began as I took over for the night shift. I began stocking shelves, making coffee, and all the things that were necessary to have a successful day at work. There were two small televisions in the store that were set to national news stations.
It was around 0630 when the morning rush started for people who worked a normal eight to five shift. People came in for gas, coffee, and snack items before they proceeded to tackle the rush hour traffic. Breaking News alerts appeared on the television screens as I assisted customers. Commercial airplane crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings in New York City, was the headline I read. It didn’t make sense at first. Then a video was shown of a plane hitting the North Tower, flames ensued, and debris began to fall. My heart sank. I was speechless. Everyone in the store gasped. People starting mumbling, one lady screamed as the video replayed. This was really happening. I could not fully comprehend what was going on because I had never seen anything comparable in my entire life. I was in utter shock. A few minutes later, another breaking headline appeared: South Tower hit. Tears began to flow down my cheeks as I tried to continue working. I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed, as the real-time footage took over every channel in America.
Our country was under attack.
There were multiple airplanes hijacked in the U.S. that day. American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. It seemed like something out of a movie. This could not be real, I thought to myself, as I grew physically ill from watching the events unfold. Time seemed to stop. We just wanted to know that everyone was okay. They weren’t.
On that day our world as we knew it changed forever. The lives of the men and women in the air, at work in the Towers, on the ground walking by … gone. Our entire world was shaken by the catastrophe that took place September 11th. People from all over came to help save the lives of the trapped men and women. The death toll continued to grow, days, even weeks after the attack. Our country united and vowed to fight against foreign threats before they could reach American soil again.
Today, we remember all the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of others. The pilots, the crew members, the hundreds of airline passengers, the policemen, the firemen, the EMT’s, the countless civilians, and so many more who selflessly risked everything for others to live. Thank you.
We will never forget is more than a slogan. It is a promise to those who lost their lives, and those left behind.
“It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend-even a friend whose name we never knew,” – President George W. Bush.