I think that everyone who was alive and aware when the events of 9/11 unfolded remembers where they were when it happened. I was teaching a history class and I remember getting up that morning and noticing how beautiful the weather was. The temperature was just right, and the skies were clear. I forget what moment in history I was covering in class that morning, but I will never forget that moment in history when the school secretary came to our classroom to tell us that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. My first thought was “weather.” Maybe there was fog in New York, but that seemed unlikely. Then I thought “navigational error, systems failure.” That seemed only slightly more likely. In either case, it was disturbing news.
Then the secretary came back and announced that the second tower at the World Trade Center had been hit. This was no accident. I dismissed the class and we – along with others in the school – went to the one room with a television and watched as events unfolded. It didn’t seem real and still, it was. That event affected all of us.
Our kids were still very young, and we did our best to shield them from the worst of it, but that was an impossible task. Things still needed to be explained to them in terms they could understand. Each of us remembers where we were that day. Our middle daughter, who is now in her mid-twenties, still will not get on a plane. That event affected all of us.
In the days that followed, you could not turn on the television and not see coverage of 9/11. Other than the tragic footage of the collapsing towers, I remember watching the shots where the camera panned across the faces of the crowds in New York City. They were faces of people from all across the globe. I remember commenting to my wife: “They didn’t just attack us; they attacked the whole world.” That event affected all of us.
I remember. We all remember. We cannot afford to forget.