September 11

11 Sep

For many people, there are moments they will always remember. Their first kiss, graduating college, getting married, the birth of their first child. And for many Americans, September 11, 2001 will forever be on that list. I’m certain we can all remember where we were that day. I was in eighth grade, sitting in class. The secretary came in and told my teacher that the World Trade Center had been attacked. She started to cry and all of us wondered what was happening. As I sat in shock, I thought, I’ve been there. I’ve been to the World Trade Center.

In the summer of 2000, my family took one of our trips to visit cousins in New Jersey. During those trips, we usually spent a day in New York City, and on that particular August day we found ourselves in Lower Manhattan. Not really sure where to start, my Uncle Joe suggested we check out the South Tower of the World Trade Center. So we all headed up to the Top of the World observation deck on the 110th floor. The views were spectacular, and I remember feeling like I could see all the way to Ohio.

On September 11, I couldn’t believe that same building was gone.  It all happened so quickly, and our country would never be the same. In 2002 we went back to New York City and to Lower Manhattan. I remember standing at the edge of Ground Zero. It was a giant hole in the ground. I thought, is this empty space really where I stood more than 1,000 feet in the sky? Just like on September 11, I don’t think it sank in.

Today it does though. I sit and watch footage from that day, and my heart goes out to the friends and families who lost loved ones. As much as that day was an American tragedy, it went beyond our shores. Many who died were from other countries. And those attacks started a decade of wars and more terrorist attacks around the world. But, even in all the tragedy, on the ten year anniversary there is hope. I think Iryna Ushakova said it best, “Life goes on. Ten years is a good time to say goodbye to all that we’ve been through, a good time to turn the page to a new era.” She is a Ukranian woman whose father died in the World Trade Center.

I’ve been back to Ground Zero several times since 2002. And now I hope to go and visit the national September 11 memorial there. I want to pay my respects to those who lost their lives, to remember that life is precious, but most importantly to remember.

Image courtesy Google Images[hope]

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