I was only a little kid of nine, nine-and-a-half, when it happened, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
While I didn't see the actual news flash on television (I was at school, in the third grade), but the teacher told us that the Twin Towers in New York City had been attacked and were now on fire. I recall feeling shocked, especially since my brother, Erik, lived there; I was worried about him. He lived kind of close to the Twin Towers.
I was hoping he'd gotten away from there.
We got out of school early that day. We were home by noon. Mom and dad met us kids at the door: they were both crying, saying that our nation had been attccked by terrorists and that the Twin Towers had fallen. I looked at them like they had rocks for brains. I kept saying, "No, no, it isn't true!!" I was in a state of denial. I remember telling them: "Buildings that big just don't fall!"
I wanted to see the news, but mom or dad wouldn't let us kids do so. Instead, we had to stay in our rooms and find ways to entertain ourselves while our parents stayed glued to the television set. Meanwhile, I kept worrying about Erik, wondering if he was okay, or if he was even still alive.
Eventually, I did see the video tapes of the attacks. I was horrified. Stunned beyond belief. Why would anyone do this to us? What could we have possibly done to these terrorists to provoke such evil?? I remember feeling angry, confused.
For a long time I had a hard time trying to forgive anyone who was of the Muslim (Islamic) faith. Somehow I connected them all to the terrorists; I didn't want anything to do with them. I was very angry at God, and for a while, I wanted nothing to do with him, even though I was already a Christian.
I have since learned to forgive those responsible, but it isn't easy. I see the New York skyline, minus the Twin Towers; somehow, it looks ... empty. Barren. It doesn't seem the same (and it isn't). Once again, the twin demons of anger and unforgiveness threaten to rear their ugly heads when I think of what happened that awful day nine years ago. Once again, hatred towards people who are Islamic burns deep in my heart.
It would have been worse had my brother died, but thank God he didn't. Still, it isn't easy. I watched the news this morning on Fox, and they showed the events of that day; all I could do was cry. Somehow I feel all empty inside, as I remember those who perished that day, not only in the Twin Towers, but those who died in the planes that hit the Pentagon and the plane that went down in that empty field in Pennsylvania.
Over 3,000 of our own men, women, and children died when the planes had been hijacked. There would have been more hadn't the one man on the plane in Pennsylvania hadn't fought the terrorists and caused the plane to crash.
That plane was intended to hit the White House, but thanks to that man's bravery, many more lives had been saved, even though he sacrificed his own (and the lives of those who were on the plane with him).
I personally don't know anyone who perished in the attacks, but I do have an adult friend who lost her best friend, and another friend who lost co-workers (she worked in the Towers). So in a way, I was affected. We all were; nobody was left untouched, impacted somehow.
To commemorate that sad anniversary, our city is holding a special program tonight at Centennial Park. There will be patriotic songs sung, speeches, and moments of silence as the names of the fallen are read; while this will go on, a bell will be struck after each name is read. It is a very solemn occasion.
Our city has done this every year since the attacks; every year, more people attend.
Well, I am going to go. Gonna watch Fox News as they continue to commemorate that day nine years ago when the world as we knew it was changed forever. May God bless America again, and may we never forget! I won't. I can't. Nor will I ever forget!