Here is something I wrote up for the 8th anniversary of 9/11 in 2009, except for the hijacking times which I added for the 10th anniversary in 2011.
Tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in America’s history. In some ways it seems so long ago, in other ways it seems like yesterday. I admit that my memories and feelings from 8 years ago aren’t as vivid as they used to be, but some memories, feelings, and lessons are still with me strong today. I would like to share those now with you.
First off, the victims along with their loved ones are in my prayers every night. Between my Troop Tribute, 9/11 Tribute, and Operation Rooster pages I know there are people that lost loved ones on September 11th, 2001. I just want to let you know that you, and the loved one or loved ones you lost that day have not been forgotten.
The first thing that comes to mind is how I came to witness the events. At the time I was 21 years old and in community college here in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. On Tuesdays I only had one class at like 1:00 pm and I normally woke up at 9:45 to mess around on the internet before class. Well, the night before I was tired and went to bed early. I didn’t want to get too much sleep so I set my alarm for 8:45. At 8:45 my TV turns on. Six minutes later at 8:51, still half asleep for some reason I decided to hit the “previous channel” button on my remote and it goes to ABC. Not even 5 seconds later they broke into “Good Morning America” with a report of a fire at the World Trade Center. I went on too watch the events and aftermath for many hours to come. I don’t know if it was mere coincidence that events happened like that, or if it was God, or something else. But that day has had lasting effects on my life.
September 11th was my first real time dealing with death. Before that day the closest person to me that died were great aunts and uncles I would maybe see one time a year. I didn’t know anyone that was killed that day, but when I saw the south tower fall at 9:59 am killing an unknown number of people, it hit me hard. I had a lump in my throat from the sadness for a couple days. Then just when I was feeling better that Friday they started showing on TV people pleading for info on their missing loved ones. And they showed the walls covered with posters that had info on missing people. That broke my heart all over again.
But, I also remember the great feeling I had seeing people from all around the world rally together; whether they were lining up to give blood, or flooding fire departments with donations, or putting flowers in front of American embassies in other countries. We weren’t Democrat or Republican, white or black or any other color, we weren’t this that or the other, we were all Americans first. That is one lesson that has stuck with me but I fear has left way too many people.
The other major lesson that has stuck with me is to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Before 9/11/01 I had my head in the sand and didn’t really care what was going. But, on that day I started to pay attention a little bit more and it eventually led to me really diving in and paying close attention to domestic and foreign events in the summer of 2006. Basically, I learned that not only what happens with in America’s borders affects America, but what happens on the other side of the world can also affect what happens here.
Like I said at the beginning some things have faded in 8 years, but some things are still vivid within me. I remember: the shock of realizing we were under attack as I saw United Flight 175 hit the south tower at 9:03 am, the wondering who would do this and why, the sadness of knowing that thousands of innocent people were taken from us, feeling scared because I didn’t know what was coming next, being angry once it was known who was behind the attacks, the feeling of patriotism seeing people line the streets of Manhattan and cheering on first responders as they drove by and seeing American flags all over the place all over the country, the weirdness (if that is a weird) of looking up in the sky and not seeing any planes (I am always seeing planes taking off and landing from Hopkins Airport in Cleveland and seeing planes at 35,000 feet fly over), the sense of pride for the passengers of United Flight 93 as they claimed the first victory in the war on terror, the feeling of thanks seeing people around the world rallying behind America, and just the overall sense of unity that America and the world had on 9/12/01 and the following days.
I would like to dedicate this to several people: the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who refused to just sit back and be victims and decided to fight back and save an unknown number of lives at the White House or Capital; the firefighters, police officers, port authority officers, and every one else that ran into the burning twin towers and pentagon; to all of our military and first responders that put their life on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe and free; to all those that are still living like how most of America was on 9/12; and to the 3,000 or so souls that were lost 8 years ago today, and all their loved ones.
Here is a timeline of the major events that occurred on the beautiful sunny Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.
About 8:14 a.m. – American Airlines flight 11 is hijacked
Between 8:42 a.m. and 8:46 a.m. – United Airlines flight 175 is hijacked
8:46 a.m – American Airlines flight 11 hits the north tower of the World Trade Center
Between 8:51 a.m. and 8:54 a.m. – American Airlines flight 77 is hijacked
9:03 a.m – United Airlines flight 175 hits the south tower of the World Trade Center
9:28 a.m. – United Airlines flight 93 is hijacked
9:37 a.m – American Airlines flight 77 hits the Pentagon
9:59 a.m – The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses
10:03 a.m – United Airlines flight 93 crashes in Shanksville, PA
10:28 a.m – The north tower of the World Trade Center collapses
Like I have on each anniversary I will be taking a moment of silence at each of the times above. I ask that you take at least one moment to remember the events that occurred 8 years ago today and in the following days. I ask that you remember all sides. Remember the good, the bad, and the ugly. Remember the sadness, anger, but also the sense of unity and patriotism and so on.
I thank you all for taking the time to read this. May God bless the ones we lost 8 years ago today, their loved ones, the ones that protect us every day, and may God bless the great republic of the United States of America.