September 11th, 2001.
That statement alone sends chills up and down my spine.
Every time I discuss this with someone, we always end up talking about where we were, what we were doing and how we found out about the attack on our Twin Towers, Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and the attack on the Pentagon.
Whether you were there in NYC, in Pennsylvania, in Washington D.C., or somewhere else far away, I think we all felt the same vibration of terror and loss.
I was 12 when it happened and I can vividly remember where I was when this all happened. I took the bus in the morning and I used to get up early to check the weather on the news, but on this particular morning, there was no weather; there was only the same continuous feed of two airplanes crashing, one after another, straight into the twin towers. I actually thought it was a joke originally. Or maybe they were airing a film instead of the news? So, naturally, I went to get my mom. I did have to go to school so I ended up jogging away to catch the bus, leaving my mom to sit in shock in front of the TV, but there was pretty much no escaping the events of the day.
Every kid on my bus was discussing it, otherwise they didn’t yet know what I was talking about. I remember that in every one of my classes, my teachers all had their TVs on the news. I don’t think we, as young students, truly understood how unprecedented this attack was or how real. That being said, we all somehow realized, on a small level, that things would never be the same and they haven’t been since this happened. That being said, I think that amid the horror and destruction of 9/11, there was also a crazy amount of unrivaled bravery and compassion from ordinary American citizens that continues to inspire me to this very day. Although this event has stayed with us since then because of all who were lost and all the destruction and ugliness, horror and panic we have endured; we will always remember, but we will find our way back as Americans and as compassionate human beings.
That being said, I seriously dislike the name they’ve chosen for this day – “Patriot Day”. It just makes me feel instant disgust because all I think of is the Patriot Act – an act passed after 9/11 happened that has violated our rights as Americans in a serious way and something that always makes me think of this old quote from one of our founders.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
With that, I do feel a deep sense of sorrow for those lost, a sense of pride and unity for my country, and belief that we will move forward to a better future with the knowledge, understanding and lessons learned from our past. I also think we’re capable of coming up with less predictable names.
Check out some of the most iconic photos from 9/11/01 - Here – At TimesUnion.Com and I hope we can all issue silent prayers today for all those who lost someone on 9/11 – they will be needing kind words more than anyone else.