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When the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, I was a senior in college and I was asleep. It was a Tuesday and I’d had a class schedule that meant my first class wouldn’t begin until 1PM. I hadn’t planned on waking up until much later that day, so I was more than annoyed when a girlfriend called and woke me up out of a restful slumber.
“Girl! Are you watching TV”
I remember sighing and asking her what channel and remember her asking me what channel I had. That shook me and I turned on the television just in time to see the second plane slam into the South Tower. I hung up the phone and ran into my best friend/college apartment mate’s room. I swung open the door and she stared at me wrapped in the arms of her boyfriend (now husband). Tears streamed down her face. I knew immediately it was no accident.
That day was a sad combination of raw emotion. I remember throwing on clothes and sobbing with relief as my mother picked up the phone from Jersey. She was at work, mere Life Flight moments from the destruction and could see the smoke from the roof. She begged me to stay inside because she feared more attacks and I told her I couldn’t because I had “a job to do”. I remember changing clothes, grabbing my reporter’s pad, and heading out. Somewhere along the line I ran into my male best friend and heart string. He and I walked together to the college auditorium where there was standing room only while our chancellor gave a speech about the tragic events, why classes would not be cancelled “because he would not let them win”, and how we needed to pray. I remember my friend praying with me and keeping me calm despite not hearing from his family at the Pentagon and in DC. I remember his walking me to my 1PM class and telling me to go straight to class and then to go home, that he loved me, and that everything would be alright. That was 14 years ago and I remember almost every detail like it was yesterday.
In recent years, I have shown Superbug pictures and articles of that day. I showed him the slide show that showed the destruction of the towers. I showed him the candlelight vigils. Last year, when he asked why the people didn’t come down the stairs, I showed him the captured of pictures of those who jumped because of the heat of the flames and being blocked from any other way.
When we discussed 9/11, we discussed people who executed a terror attack because they believed they were within their right to do so. He asked what I was doing on that fateful day, how I felt, and if I think about the day anymore. As he gets older, he doesn’t ask about it as often. I suppose it is similar to thoughts I had about Pearl Harbor. I was aghast at the attack and could only imagine what my great-grandmother felt, but I couldn’t quite relate and some how felt a safety bubble that it wouldn’t happen again. At least I did.
I hope and pray that Superbug and Honeybee never experience a moment of profound historical significance as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. While it is always important to #NeverForget, let us hope and pray that the next generation won’t have such a moment to recall.