Sunday, September 11, 2011

May We Never Forget

Today is a day that we should never forget. This day ten years ago will forever be imprinted in my memory. Anyone who was alive and can remember that day knows how horrific it was and will always remember what they were doing and where they were when they heard the news.

I had just gotten to work at Black & Veatch in Kansas City. One of my co-workers came in and loudly asked if anyone had heard the news. He told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Many thought it was an accident but my co-worker immediately said he believed it was a terrorist attack. Then we heard about the second plane and knew he was right.

One of my first thoughts after the second plane hit was about a very close family friend living in NYC. I called my mom to see if she knew if she was okay. Thankfully she was safe. My friend works for CBS news and over the next weeks was one person responsible for going through all the footage to decide what should be shown to the public or not. I cannot begin to imagine the horrible images she saw on a daily basis.

As the events of the day unfolded my co-workers and I would come together around the one TV in the office for brief periods of time. No one was able to concentrate for long and not much work was done. At lunchtime I went to a Chinese buffet with several co-workers. I can still clearly remember sitting in the restaurant watching the TV there in disbelief. It just didn’t make sense.

That night my mom and I ate dinner in front of the TV in our family room again in complete disbelief. We could not understand the terrifying horror the people in New York, Washington D.C. or on those 4 planes had experienced but our thoughts and prayers were with them. We listened to the president address the nation and I can honestly say I have never watched a presidential speech with such concentration and pride for our country.

There are three events that occurred within a few months time of that day that will also be imprinted in my memory forever. The first was my birthday. I have a picture of Troy and I in my mom’s front yard with the American flag proudly flying in the background. As we were getting ready to go out to dinner that night I remember thinking that I shouldn’t really be celebrating after such tragic events. I also realized that was exactly what the terrorists wanted--for us to stop living our lives with freedom and joy and I wasn’t going to give them that satisfaction. The events of that day without question changed our lives and the world forever but I for one am still proud to be an American and thank those who serve and protect our country with all my heart.

The second event was watching the Country Music Awards and hearing Alan Jackson perform for the first time “Where were You?” It moved me to tears then and even now when I hear that song I sometimes tear up. The song summarizes so well what I think each of us felt that day. I encourage you to listen to it if you’ve never heard it.

The third event was a K-State football game. I believe I was there for siblings weekend with my sister. It was the first sporting event I attended after September 11 and thus my first time singing the national anthem. At some point during the song everyone started holding hands with their neighbor. I was moved to tears yet again.

The emotion I felt ten years ago still amazes me. I have to say that I’ve felt it again the last few days and it’s something that I hope I never forget. We need to remember the horror, pain and tragedy of that day so that those who perished did not do so in vain. May God continue to be with their family and friends and may we all never forget.

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