There are events that change you, that change the way you look at each other and at the world. I had long heard that there are events that you remember every detail about; where you were, who you were with, how you felt, ect. These events include Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK and of course September 11, 2001.
I was fresh into my senior year of high school; full of excitement for a great year and promise of my future. September 11, 2001 was picture perfect, blue skies with clouds doting the sky like they were painted in. I was a member of student council, and we had a monthly meeting called student forum where members of student councils from different area schools met. Our first meeting of the year was that day, and I was getting a few things ready before we left. I was walking down the hallway when I ran into my video drama teacher, Mrs. Franks. She looked as if she had seen a ghost, her face pale and her mouth still open. First period was her prep, and she had the TVs on in the TV studio. She saw the news right after the first tower hit. I believe that she was the first person in the building to hear about what was then thought to be a tragic freak accident. When we met in the hallway she told me what happened, and I walked with her to the office so she could tell the office staff and principals. We turned on the news in the office to watch the coverage and to make sense of what was happening. Within just a minute or two, we watched live in complete horror as the second plane hit the tower.
Still not knowing what was happening, we went to student forum and gathered with other student council members. They rolled a TV into the room so we could updated with what was happening. One of the teachers wanted to turn the TV off so that we could focus on the meeting. Luckily the majority of the students and a few other teachers won out, and we focused more on the events as they occurred and not on the scheduled agenda. Soon after we watched in eery silence as the tower came down. They leaders decided to dismiss the meeting, and we all filed out to our cars trying to make sense of what was happening. We decided to still go into Uniontown for lunch (which was our custom after attending these meetings). We went restaurant to restaurant finding hand written closed signs on the doors. I called my mum, who worked at the Uniontown hospital to hear her voice. She let me know that they had been put on high alert, because they were the nearest hospital to Shanksville. The whole staff was eagerly awaiting the call to let them know survivors were in route. Sadly, the only call they got was to let them know there would be no need. All perished in the crash. We stopped to see my mum, and we both started crying when we saw each other. She hugged me and my friends and helped to comfort us. We headed for home.
We happened to have been having some work done in our kitchen that week. When I got home that afternoon, the contractor was still there. The poor man had no idea what was going on. My sister had called early that morning and left a message on our answering; she was basically crying and yelling something along the lines of “those poor people, oh my God, those poor people”. The poor contractor didn’t feel comfortable turning on our TV, so he heard the message (this was when people still actually had home phones and answering machines) and was beyond confused. I filled him in on the days events. I can only imagine what he had been thinking all day, but I’m sure it was no where near the actual days events.
I still get emotional thinking of that day (ok, I start crying usually), the lives lost, the heroes in action and the way that our country united.
We truly never will forget. I am grateful to all of the heroes who did what needed to be done that day, and the weeks and months after and who still protect our freedom today. I’m especially proud of and thankful for my cousin, Robbie, who has served in the reserves and served several tours of duty. He has put his life on the line, as so many other soldiers have, to try to keep us as safe as they can.