It was a bright, sunny Tuesday morning. I awoke from a good night’s sleep around 7:25am Central time that day. It was a day I was off from work, chalk full of appointments and other things that sometimes must happen on a weekday.
I got out of bed, kicked on the TV, which was tuned to Fox News at the time, and headed to the restroom to freshen up. When I came back into the bedroom, I glanced over at the TV and saw a live shot of the New York skyline. The weather that morning in New York was much like it was at my home, 2500 miles away. It was a clear, sparkling day, a day like so many others. This day, however, would be different.
It was September 11, 2001. The live shot I was looking at was of the World Trade Center towers and one of them was on fire. It seemed, at the time, that a small plane had somehow veered off course and crashed into the tower. I stood there for a minute or two and took it in. It was interesting, but the story obviously had to develop before more was known, so I went on about my business.
I went out of my room and found my dad. I told him about the World Trade Center and grabbed something to nibble on. I went back to my room and sat down at my computer to browse the, at that time, fairly young Internet to see if anything interesting was there.
Meanwhile, the TV was still on in the background, and I heard John Scott commenting on the World Trade Center incident. I got out of my chair and stood not more than 18 inches from my Sony 27” CRT TV that was pretty close to state of the art at the time.
While standing there, I saw a second plane, coming from right to left on my TV screen heading towards the towers. Then it happened. In what felt like slow motion, I watched the plane impact the second tower and flames shoot straight out the other side. If I didn’t know I was watching the news, I would have thought it was a special FX shot from an action movie.
At that moment, I heard John Scott say, “This has to be deliberate, folks”, and I could only stand there. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I just stood there and watched with utter horror, shock, disbelief, and a number of other, sometimes, conflicting emotions that I just wasn’t able to process at the time. That image is forever burned into my mind and I will never forget it, even if I wanted to. I continued to watch the TV all day long, skipping all of my appointments. I waited anxiously to hear what President Bush was going to do about this.
Flash forward 10 years. This Sunday is the 10th anniversary of that horrible day. This week, the government released information on a credible plan to hit us again on or around the anniversary. While something may not happen this time, it is yet another reminder that there are people in this would who will stop at nothing to try to destroy this country.
So many Americans have fallen back asleep. Many who proudly flew American flags and proclaimed loudly in the days and weeks after 9/11 that they, too, would never forget, have, by their actions, forgotten. One day out of the year they may allow themselves to be reminded of those horrible events, but the rest of the time, they choose not to be bothered with the truth. They’d prefer to watch their reality shows and read the latest celebrity gossip news on TMZ.
This 9/11 and every day after that, let all of us remember with humility those who were taken from us on that bright Tuesday morning. To the 2,976 men, women, and children that died on that day: We made a promise to never forget you, and those of us that haven’t will make sure that the rest of us can’t.