Hello, everyone. It has been 19 years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks. I really can’t believe it was so long ago. I think it will always feel like it just happened. I am going to share the story of where I was and what I was doing that day.
I was 19 years old, just starting my sophomore year of college at Averett College (now university). I was heading to history class. I walked through the lobby of the dorm, which had a TV. I walked by, and I heard something about a plane crash and the World Trade Center. Now, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t know what the WTC was at the time. So, I didn’t think twice about what I heard on the TV.
So, I went to class, completely unaware of the tragedy unfolding. I learned about something in class, I’m sure, but I don’t remember what. What I remember after that was walking back to my dorm and hearing murmurs and feeling like something bad was going on. I get to my room, and I called my mom. She told me to turn on the TV. And then I saw it. The horror.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And at age 19, it was difficult to comprehend. Then the second tower fell. I couldn’t believe I was witnessing such horror, such fear, such tragedy. No one knew what was going on. No one knew who was responsible. No one knew if it was over.
I remember hearing reports that a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. But they wouldn’t say where. I was terrified, as I have a ton of family in Pennsylvania. It was more difficult to call people to check on them then. I only had a landline. Long distance wasn’t free. Thankfully, my relatives were all OK. But so many other lives were not.
I remember not going to my newspaper class later that day. And I remember being asked why I wasn’t there in the next class. I get that it was breaking news and all that. But I was 19, and this massive tragedy was going on. Class should have been canceled anyway. Going to newspaper class or any other classes that day was not important.
Sadly, and I hate to say it, but it almost feels like Sept. 11 is being forgotten. And I think the pandemic has a lot to do with that. Usually, I see a ton of news reports, flags hanging everywhere, friends and family posting on social media and other things to mark the anniversary and to never forget. I have seen some of these things, but not nearly as much as usual. It feels like it is being overshadowed by the chaos of the day. Now, don’t get me wrong, the pandemic, climate change, wildfires, protests, massive unemployment, tropical weather and just an insane amount of tragedy this year is obviously a HUGE deal. And all of that should be reported and focused on and not forgotten.
But we should never forget Sept. 11, a day where many lives were lost — and more lost over the years due to the effects of the dust. The day America changed forever. Never forget.