On Sept. 11, 2001 our nation was put at a stand still and stood on edge. It is a day I will never forget and, even nine years later, it is one day we should never let slip from our memory.
Driving in the car with my sorority sisters this past Saturday morning, I knew I could not.
Our moods were solemn as we talked about how almost a decade ago we experienced terrorist attacks that changed the lives of everyone in our country.
Our stories quiet filled the car as we discussed our remembrances of that horrific morning. We shared stories of families, friends and our own experiences.
I remember mine vividly:
I was a fifth grade student at Wyandot Run Elementary School in Powell, Ohio. As we were sitting in class, waiting for recess, a mother of a student in our class came in.
She told us that our nation was under attack, scaring the entire class of fifth graders.
We were shocked.
Our teacher turned on the news while we just sat wondering what was happening.
Before we knew it, we were rushed out to recess, still unable to understand what had taken place.
As we sat outside on the jungle gym, our fifth grade minds searched for answers to questions that had none.
How could someone do this? How could this happen? Were we safe?
Those questions surrounded us, and I still ask them to this day.
That day the end of school was different. Instead of riding the bus home, my dad was there to pick up my brothers and I. We swarmed him with our questions.
When I got home from school, I remember sitting down, and seeing tears in my parents’ eyes as they explained to their innocent children what had happened.
When I heard the truth, my 10-year-old concept of safety was sent into a tailspin. The bubble I had around my life started to burst.
My dad continued to explain: bad men, planes, death.
They are simple words with complex meaning, and it was so much for a young girl to wrap her head around.
It was even more for my 8-year-old brother who quietly asked if we were safe.
My dad said he would keep us safe, and that was all we knew.
Riding in the car last Saturday it became silent long enough for me to think about that day again. This time my mind filled with thoughts of my uncle’s plane landing safely in Cincinnati and my aunt who was a flight attendant at the time. It reminded me of the fear I felt that day.
I know I will never forget those stories. How could I? How could anyone?
I have begun to realize that maybe our generation was too young to really understand what was happening.
As we sat there, sheltered in our schools, we did not realize what that day really meant.
But now we should.
“We owe them remembrance,” former President Bush said on Sept. 11, 2002.
And we do owe them that. We owe remembrance to those who died for us. We owe those heroes.
We need to realize that by remembering Sept. 11, we are remembering them.
I will never forget those people who died going to work that day or those who risked their lives to save so many.
I will never forget the footage of New York City that morning.
And even though I was young, I will never forget the tears I saw in my father’s eyes as he explained what had happened.
I will never forget because those are the same tears I am shedding now.