It’s hard to believe that 13 years have passed since the sunny September 11th in 2001 when life as we Americans knew it changed dramatically. Although some WWII veterans were still around, the majority of us had never experienced an attack on American soil and no one had experienced an attack of this magnitude from outside terrorists in the continental US.
Ask anyone and they will tell you where they were, what they were doing and the impact seeing that second plane hit the World Trace Center (WTC) had on them.
I Remember the WTC Attack Like it Was Yesterday
Like every other American on September 11th, 2001, it was just a normal weekday for me. I got up, got the oldest off to her elementary school, dropped the youngest at preschool and went home for the few hours a week I enjoyed to myself. One of my routines was to turn on the news, so I flipped it to Fox and saw that a plane had crashed into one of the WTC buildings.
What a tragedy, I thought. So sad. wonder if there were mechanical issues? Wonder if the pilot was suicidal? I hoped the people were okay and started to pay attention to the news more than I would have normally when it was just background noise.
What happened next has been described as throwing most people into a state of shock. Shock is not how I react to crisis. The minute that second plane struck the second tower, I knew in an instant that our country was under attack. No way was that second plane another accident. One was unbelievable enough, but two was an attack.
The scary thing was that you didn’t know how widespread the attack was. Was it just in New York? Was it just big cities? Were the schools going to be attacked? I didn’t pause for shock. I was on my feet and out the door, stopping to get my preschooler who was just up the street and then rushing to the elementary.
They had locked down the elementary and wouldn’t let the few parents there get their children. Now, there are many reasons why I think this is a bad idea, including the fact that I do think terrorists will target our schools at some point. However, at that time, the schools did the best they could in a moment none of us ever imagined. I returned home with my youngest and tried to distract her and keep her from seeing the coverage while I watched as much of it as I could.
What Have We Learned?
Here were are, 13 years later, and on the eve of the worst attack in my memory our president is preparing to speak to the nation about the threat of islamic terrorists, there are multiple planes (11 at last count) missing from Libya and no one has ever accounted for the Malaysian plane that they “think” went down.
But, even though that thought is frightening and it seems as though things could be worse than they were even back a decade, we are different than we were 13 years ago. Gone is the innocence of thinking we are 100% safe on our own soil. We’re more observant. We’re street smart now.
I bet, if you are like me, you’ve even been on an airplane or at a public event and gone through different scenarios and how you’d respond. The terrorists might come after us again, in fact, I would almost guarantee they will. However, our response this time will be vastly different. The military will shoot planes out of the sky. If there are passengers, they will fight back.
This week, as we remember those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks (the heroes who ran into the building or brought down planes and also all those innocent lives that were taken), let’s also remember what makes us Americans and binds us together.
We love our country.
We will always fight for freedom.
We are stronger together.
We aren’t perfect, but we would’t want to live anywhere else.
Tomorrow, I will be praying for those who lost loved ones on 9/11. I’ll also pray for our country and that God protects us. And, even though it is hard for me to do, I will pray for the terrorists and that their eyes are opened and hearts changed. What will you be doing tomorrow? How will you mark the day or will you? Share your thoughts below.