I remember it like it was yesterday. I was still in bed–after all, it was before 8 AM and I wasn’t scheduled to work until 10 AM that day–and my cell phone woke me out of a dead sleep. The first thing I heard was “turn on the news.” So in my groggy state, I stumbled to the living room and turned on CNN and couldn’t believe my eyes … and it only got worse from there.
As soon as I hung up, I called my husband–my then-boyfriend–to wake him up. We watched some of the coverage until I had to get ready to work. Even though he was off that day, he accompanied me to the mall I worked at as a Customer Service Representative, only to find out the mall had been shut down for the day. Still incredibly emotional, we called my parents and went over to spend the day with them. We spent the day sitting there watching the news, talking to my parents and my husband’s parents all day as we all shared in our disbelief.
Like most, if not all of America, the first emotion that struck me was absolute shock. How could this have happened? There were no words to express what I was feeling that day, but it didn’t matter to my husband because he knew–extreme sadness. It wasn’t until later that I felt the anger that, to this day, still resides somewhere inside me. How could anyone do this?
To this day, I can’t look at pictures of the tragedy without shedding a tear, and I have a feeling that will be the case for many years to come. Ten years later, I shed several tears during last night’s pre-race performance of God Bless America and the National Anthem. My husband and I sat silent along with ESPN between laps nine and 11, and we marveled at the wonderful paint schemes several teams had put together.
Like JFK’s assassination for my parents, 9/11 is something that will inevitably become a topic that my husband and I will sit down and share with our children exactly what we were doing, what we felt and how the United States changed in the days and months after. And I have a pretty good feeling that it’ll still bring tears to our eyes as we remember.
God Bless all of the families who lost someone that day and God Bless the members of the United States Military and their loved ones–past, present and future–who sacrifice each and every day to protect the rights we take for granted each and every day.
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