Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do You Remember Where You Were?

I will never forget that day.  I will always remember where I was, who I was with, and the emotions that I was feeling.  I will never forget the panic I felt when we couldn't reach our family members who were in NYC that day, possibly at WTC. 

I was a sophomore in college at USF so of course I had realized that me and morning classes did not mix.  I was asleep in my dorm room when Matt, one of my dorm mates, woke me up pounding on my bedroom door.  He was in the Marines and needed to borrow my iron.  I had no idea what he was talking about and he told me that we were under attack, he needed to press his uniform and wait for instructions, and I needed to turn on the TV.  I turned on the TV just as the second plane hit the second tower.  I saw it live on the Today Show.  I will never forget hearing Matt Lauer talking and the disbelief/shock/surprise in his voice when that second plane hit.  I will also never forget that image.  That video is forever engrained in my mind. I remember feeling scared and confused.  I remember finally getting a hold of my mom to ask if she'd heard from my aunt and cousins.  I can't remember if my cousin and his wife were living in the city at the time or if they were still in Conneticut but I do know they were in the city and had planned on visiting WTC that day.  We were all frantic wondering if we were one of those unfortunate few who lost loved ones.  After a few hours we were able to get through to them.  Thankfully they opted to visit WTC the day before.  We were all so relieved.  USF had cancelled classes for the rest of the day.  We all gathered in each other's rooms and the lobby of our dorm (love all my Leadership House peeps!) to watch the rest of the events unfold.  A group of us opted to leave campus and head to a friend's home in Lakeland, just to get away for the day.  It was a nice escape from the devastation that happened earlier.

As the days went on, we as a nation tried to rebuild.  I remember seeing all the pictures and videos of the damage.  It was all so sombering.  I still have a copy of the Oracle, USF's newspaper, from September 12th.  It has pages of pictures from the day before, some horrible, and some inspiring.  I try to not look at it because it brings back so much emotion but I know exactly where it is.

As the 10th anniversary of this tragic day drew near, I tried to distance myself from looking at the pics and videos that were being posted online.  Not because I'm unpatriotic, but because it still makes me feel so disgusted, sad, emotional, you name it.  But it wasn't until a few days ago when I saw the picture of NYC taken from space.  There was a lone American in the space station at the time of the attacks.  He was the only American not on Earth when everything unfolded yet had a view of the damage from space.  There is a video of images he took from space with him narrating what he was seeing.  He expressed his sincere sorrow, love, and support for his fellow Americans but he ended with the most amazing words.  He said that even on this horrible day "the city still looks beautiful from space."  How true those words are.  No matter how horrible the damage, how great the loss, the city and the rest of the country joined together to support each other and move on.  How much more beautiful can you get?!?
My cousin took this picture on September 10, 2001 of the WTC.  He's doing a 365 project on Facebook taking and posting daily pics with his iPhone.  To commemorate today, he took a pic of the picture with his iPhone and editted it for his 365 project.  To know that this picture was taken in the last hours of their existance is unbelievable. 
To my aunt and cousins, thank you for changing your plans and visiting on the 10th.  Things would be so different if you hadn't.

To all the men, women, and children who lost their lives that day, we remember you, honor you , and never forget you.

To all the men, women, and children who lost loved ones that day, we rally around you, raising you up in daily prayer, asking that peace and grace surround you and help ease your pain.


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