I was fifteen, a sophomore in high school. I was in my chorus class for 3rd period when the band teacher came into the room and told my teacher that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I had never been to New York and didn't even really know what the building was. We were all confused, and many of my classmates got nervous because they had family or friends in NYC. The bell rang and I went to my next class (Mrs. McGrath's Perspectives course) and we told her what we had heard. We had access to a TV and watched it all unfold. I stood by the TV to give it better reception. We saw (live) both towers collapse. There was confusion and sadness. I remember most how sad I was for something and people I never knew. It was as if everyone knew that with those Towers collapsing, life as we knew it would never be the same.
I have now been to New York City 5 or 6 times. I have seen where the Towers stood and walked where the devastation occurred. I have watched the videos of that day near Ground Zero and know how scary and awful it was. Most of my adult life has been post- 9/11. Terrorism, airport security and a different New York have been most of all I have ever known. In 5 years half of my life will be post-9/11. It is getting harder to remember what it was even like before, though I still hold on to the little that I do.
But what I take most of that day is how people came together; sitting in front of the TV in shock and knowing that life would be different; that our world was changing and as safe as we felt or thought we were, we really will never be 100% safe again; that there would be a before and after 9/11. And a distinct difference.
However, as time has gone by, life feels just the same that it did. I used to get choked up whenever I thought about 9/11. Now it doesn't hit me as hard. But I always remember it when flying or going to NYC or driving by the Pentagon. It will never be forgotten, but the pain is less and life is more like it was before. Maybe that's not good, maybe the feeling I used to get while thinking about that day should never go away. But life is about moving on and I will always remember 9/11/01 as a day of sadness and shock, but also as a day that America really came together. I only wish it didn't take tragedies like that to unite our nation as one.
Ten years later it feels different, but is never forgotten. I will never forget.