Right now I’m sitting in the living room watching the CBS Special about 9/11. It’s really, really intense. It’s really kind of eerie that they were making a documentary about the firefighters and then the cameras captured all of that footage of them responding to the attacks on the World Trade Towers. It’s unsettling to see video footage of them inside of the towers when they were hit, and then when they started falling. Right now it’s the part where the two brothers are reuniting and there is debris all over the hair of the shorter brother. So much soot. So much dust. So much destruction.

I woke up in time this morning right before the first moment of silence was aired on television. I watched 9/11 coverage on ABC all morning. It was heartbreaking to see the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks go to those beautiful memorials and find the names and just break down. I cannot imagine what it feels like to have lost someone on 9/11. I can’t imagine being in the shoes of the people who lost their lives that day. From the brave people on the planes, to the people who were trying to make their way out of the towers and the Pentagon, to the brave men and women of the police and firefighters… I have the utmost respect for all of these people.

Like many people in this country, I very much still remember where I was on 9/11/01. I was in high school. It was the fall of my senior year. Even though the first attack happened during my first period class of the day (AP Calculus), I didn’t find anything out until third period (Yearbook). In Yearbook, we had access to the internet, so we were getting pictures and videos of things we weren’t really prepared to see.

During fifth period marching band, I remember a plane flying over our practice field and everyone just stopped and stared. I remember our band director saying that our country was going to war.

Friends of mine in other classes were allowed to watch the news that day, but even that got shut off when the news was showing footage of people jumping out of the windows. I saw similar footage that night when I got home from school. What boggled my mind was the footage of the second plane hitting the tower. As if the situation wasn’t horrific enough – one plane flew into a building… but then during the live news feed, the second plane just flew right into frame and all of a sudden there was a burst of flames as it hit the second tower. I knew it was real. I knew this wasn’t a movie. And yet, I still had trouble processing what happened.

That week at school, we had a bomb threat. It wasn’t the first one during my four years there (we had one my freshman year and one or two more my senior year), but it was the scariest. Everyone was just so on edge.

We were supposed to leave for our senior trip to Canada on 9/13 or 9/14, but that got rescheduled (and rightly so).

I was 17 years old when 9/11/01 went down. It has affected and will continue to affect my entire adult life. And, for as bright of a person that I am, I am fairly sure I will never fully understand what happened and why that day. What is this war on terror really about? I know it didn’t really start on 9/11, even though it “started” on 9/11, but what is it all about? Politics, I know. But what does that mean?

The 9/11 coverage today has filled me with a mix of emotions. I am sad for the people who experienced epic loss that day. I am fearful that something like this could happen again. I am proud that people in this country united to help with recovery.

Even though a lot of the focus has been on the attacks in New York City, it is important to remember that there were two other planes that day that crashed in two other cities. The attack on the Pentagon was horrific because our nation’s capital was targeted and breached. The plane crash in Pennsylvania was not meant to go down there, but those brave people on United 93 took that plane down there before it could do more harm. That crash was especially jarring for me because it happened about 30 miles from where I was born.

9/11 will always be in the back of my mind, and I think the same could be said for many, many people. I wasn’t there, but my life has been permanently affected by what went down that day. I will always be thankful for the men and women who responded that day. I will always pray for the people whose lives were lost that day, and for the people who lost loved ones that day. I will always be a little bit angry that there was so much hate for people to attack our country like this. I will always be a little bit angry that there are still people who blame whole groups of (innocent) people because of race or religion for what happened on that day.

So many emotions, man.

I’m going to finish watching the special and then get to typing… I have a potential freelance gig, but I need to write a 300-500 word article to submit to see if they want to pay me for my work.

Have a good one