Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Tribute

It’s really hard to believe it’s already been 7 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York. So many people’s lives were touched by the tragedy and the camaraderie of our nation after that fateful day.

Personally I still remember that day incredibly vividly. I was at college getting ready for classes. I had a small TV in my room and I usually tuned into Good Morning America to listen to the news topics while getting ready. The news anchors were talking about some random news story when all of a sudden they stopped discussing the topic and they must have gotten word over their earpieces about what was happening. Instantly you could see the confusion on their faces and it took them a minute to figure out what they wanted to say. At first it was very confusing because there were reports of a small plane hitting one of the towers, but there wasn’t anyone on site that had video of what exactly happened. The news agency immediately sent reporters out with cameras to report on what was happening. At the time all you could see was smoke above the city and smoke coming out of one of the towers.

As they were talking and showing live filming of the first tower, you could hear another plane on the video feed. This time the camera panned and saw the jet liner flying towards the building and then smashing into it. It took a few seconds, but then the plane and building erupted in a giant fireball. Everyone was just stunned at what had happened. Even myself watching from 250 miles away couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. Shortly thereafter, reports starting coming in of other planes that had been hijacked and that the country was now on alert. I also remember the film clips they showed of President Bush at an elementary school in Florida. Some children were reading stories and he was sitting there listening when one of his aides came up next to him and whispered something to him. We had no clue at the time what the aide was saying, but you could instantly see the President’s face turn from smiling a children to a very somber and shocked look. He kept himself composed until the children finished, and then excused himself to leave.

At this point, I had to leave my room, despite not wanting to, as I had class to get to. I got to class and I don’t even remember really how I got there, but shortly before class was scheduled to start, we got word that the campus was being put under lockdown and all students were to return to their dorms. One of our engineering buildings on campus had plutonium stored there for testing purposes, so the military wasn’t taking any chances and locked down the entire campus. As I was crossing the footbridge to return to the dormitory side of campus, armed guards with automatic rifles were moving into campus to secure the engineering buildings. It was very surreal.

Many of us watched the news coverage all afternoon and into the evening in stunned silence. It was eerily quiet for the most part considering that the weather was beautiful outside and the sun was shining. Almost no one was outside as everyone was glued to the new coverage on TV. There were a few brainless people who only saw the time as free time to play their computer games. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) wrote a very good letter to the editor of our school newspaper relating the fact that these few people were content to sit behind their computer screens and play their games of shooting people and not think about what the events of that day were going to do to all of us. Our country would be going to war and we would lose many American lives to the fight that would come in the Middle East. While these students were able to sit at their computers and play their fake shooting games, someone else was going to have to sit behind a sand dune for real and look through a real scope and fire a bullet at another human. Not because they wanted to, but because they had to or they would die.

The rest of that week went by in a blur, but I can’t help but remember the images from that week. First the images of the planes hitting the towers and some of the people inside leaping to their deaths rather than succumbing to the fire within. Then to the few survivors that were able to make it out of the towers and away from Ground Zero. I also remember vividly the images of the fire fighters and police running towards the towers instead of away from them like everyone else was doing. It takes a certain kind of person to put their own life aside to try to help someone else. Many of the fire fighters who perished probably knew how bad things were, but they still went in because they wanted to try and help someone else. These are the people who deserve to be honored forever, along with all those innocent lives that were taken that day.

While we cannot undo the past and prevent this tragedy from happening, I hope that we can look back on it and see how it brought our country together. People put aside their differences to console each other and to help in any way they could. Hopefully, something like this will not happen again so that our own children do not have to live through this.
Let us all remember the people who gave their lives on this day s

No comments: