Saturday, September 10, 2011
When I was told, "Terrorists are attacking America," my first thought was that another American Embassy had been bombed. "No. An airliner was crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City."
I walked into the living room where the TV was turned to CNN. On the screen were the twin towers. Black smoke billowing out of the top of tower one. Within minutes, a large jumbo jet came into view...then a ball of fire ripped through the second tower, followed by huge mushroom clouds of smoke, which rolled upwards into the sky.
I sat numb, horrified, mesmerized by the unbelievable sight. This can't be happening. Not in America! The most powerful and secure nation in the world. Yes, they've bombed our embassy's, shot down or hijacked our planes, and have killed innocent Americans abroad. Never had they reached American soil though. Then I recalled the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing. How could I have forgotten the innocent lives lost in those horrific events?
I had a feeling this day I would never forget. That today, the images playing on millions of televisions across the world, would be forever embedded in our minds and our hearts.
As the hour unfolded, I watched again in horror and disbelief as NYC's two largest sky-scrappers crumbled to the ground. Burning in it's rubble were thousands upon thousands of innocent victims, including police, firefighters, and emergency personnel who unselfishly rushed into the buildings to help save lives, rescuing those lucky enough to survive the blasts and following infernos.
Minutes crept by. The horror wasn't over. Another plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Then yet another plane crashes, this one, however, hadn't made it to it's target. It crashed in a secluded area in Pennsylvania. Later we learned of the brave souls aboard who took their fate into their own hands and sacrificed their lives for others.
For me, September 11, 2001 will be remembered as the day America lost her innocence, no longer fearless and untouchable. Perhaps smug and naive in our freedom we were taught a hard lesson in reality, that others around the world had lived with for years. Millions watched as the second plane crashed into the second tower of the World Trade Center, leaving them numb with disbelief. A total of 2977 people perished that day and America mourned like we never have before. Momentarily stunned by fear and despair.
Out of the ashes came a renewed strength as three firemen raised our country's symbol, the American flag. It brought forth a patriotism that veiled our country in red, white and blue, reunited in part because of the countless stories of bravery during the darkest day in the history of America. From the tales of brave police and fire fighters who rushed into the towers to save lives, to a hand full of brave souls on Flight 93, we were inspired to stand tall and draw together as a nation of brothers and sisters.
On this tenth anniversary of 9/11, I pray for that continued unity and patriotism. I pray for the surviving family members of those who died and give thanks for all those brave souls who risked their lives to save others, and to the men and women serving in our military in the hopes that we never have such another day.