I remember I was a senior in high school at the time. I was sitting class waiting for the teacher to start when another student stormed in the room and said that a plane had crashed into the WTC. I remember at first assuming it was a small passenger plane or something that crashed, but we all went into our computer lab which had multiple TVs hanging up around the room. I remember being shocked when I saw that it was a normal sized plane and I remember very clearly the moment the second plane hit. The room full of people watching the TV just screamed in horror and we all suddenly realized it wasn’t some freak accident.
I remember being active in church at that time, and we always met in the mall bookstore to have bible study in the evenings. I remember driving to the mall and it being completely closed down, every business in the area had its lights off and their flags lowered; it was, in its own way very creepy. The rest of the night I spent at a friends house where we just watched the news and watched the footage over and over again.
The following summer I went to NYC to visit, and I made my way to ground zero, which just looked like a giant construction sight. I remember not being sure I was in the right spot so I tapped a woman on the shoulder to ask and she turned around, eyes full of tears to confirm I had found it. I think by then it had become so much a part of my past that I never really considered how much it still affected people, especially the ones who lived there.
I’ll never forget that day; pretty much every detail is seared into my mind for the rest of my life. I consider myself lucky in a weird way, to have been alive to experience it. I’ve never seen the country become so unified and It was pretty special to see.