Similar to previous generations, who could easily tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when JFK was shot, or the Challenger exploded, everyone I know can answer that question about 09/11. My friends and co-workers and I have been going over this the past few weeks, most of us noting what stupid, trivial things we were doing that morning.
I was in my third year at the University of Toledo during the fall of 2001. I was driving to my 9:00 class that morning, History of Jazz, the kind of class that everyone added to their schedules to fill a fine arts credit. I was listening to the radio right as the first tower was hit. They reported that a plane had crashed into the tower, but it was too early to know what had really happened, no one seemed concerned, so I didn't think much of it. I got to class and no one had even heard of that report. We had class as usual, but by the time that class ended, the vibe outside had totally changed. I will never forget what a crisp, beautiful fall morning it was. But even more so, how eerie it was that our usually bustling university campus was pretty much empty by 10am.
|University of Toledo campus|
We quickly learned what had happened and that all classes had been cancelled for the rest of the day. I went back home and, like most of us, was totally glued to the TV coverage. Although life kept going on for us in Ohio, I spent the next few weeks immersed in all of the stories of all of the people we'd lost. I waited in a 2 hour line at the Red Cross to donate blood on September 12th, attended memorials on campus, and wondered what this all meant for our country. Surely, things would never be the same. Our country would soon be at war for the next decade. Security would be heightened everywhere we go, all in defense against terrorists. Americans would no longer feel safe at home. People living in a country that boosts religious freedom would now be judged and even attacked for their religion and/or ethnicity because of the acts of some extremists. Ten years later, the day's first responders would still be fighting for health coverage to treat the ailments that they are suffering as a result of helping their fellow Americans. It's weird to me to think that my children and all of my friends' children will never know a pre-09/11 world. Our country having been attacked by terrorists will just always be part of their history, not nearly as shocking as it was to all of us.
I didn't lose anyone personally, but I do know people who did, and have friends who were in New York that day who can never forget what they saw. That fall morning will be on my mind today, and I will pray for those who were lost. My neighborhood is holding a memorial service this afternoon that I'm planning to attend. How will you remember the 10th anniversary today?