Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today...

Has it truly been ten years?

It's crazy how most days I can't remember what I had for breakfast but on that fateful day 10 years ago, I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing.

Ten years ago today...

I was a freshman in high school in Miss Vallance's biology class in the "square" building at Vanguard High in Ocala. The bell was about to ring for 2nd period when another teacher on the hall came and told our teacher that a plane had hit one of the twin towers.

"Really?"
"Yes, I had CNN on and just heard the news. Turn on your TV."

We had no idea that by the time the bell rang and we made it to 2nd period, that another plane would hit the 2nd tower. As we filed into Ms. Meierhenry's algebra class, I felt the mood shift completely as our eyes focused on the TV screen at the front of the room. We sat down in our seats, our eyes glued to the two smoldering buildings. Not much was spoken in that hour and a half. No lesson was taught. We all just sat there watching our country change forever...watching the skyline of New York City morph into something unrecognizable. We watched in disbelief as the first and then the second tower crumbled to the ground.

I remember trying to comfort a friend who knew her older brother worked in one of the towers and though she couldn't be certain which floor, she knew he was up there in one of the top ones. She was scared and I believe made a few trips to the restroom as she was overcome by fear and anxiety. Yes, he was at work that day, but he was on one of the lower floors when the plane hit and was able to get out...one of the lucky ones.

I remember wondering why and asking questions. I was only 14. I didn't understand terrorism or what the ramifications would really be because of this day. And while none of my loved ones were taken, I believe we all suffered heartbreaking loss that day but I also believe we are all survivors.

September 11, 2001 is a day that we will all remember. It is a day that changed so many lives and altered so many fates. But it is a day that brought the people of our country closer and I think, for a fleeting moment, caused us all to forget about our differences and stand by each other.

Yes, America changed that day. But now, as you reflect back...can you see that it changed YOU permanently? I honestly don't think I can. But as I look back during this 10th Anniversary, I am reminded yet again that I am not promised tomorrow...a lesson I was reminded of not too long ago. Life is too short to sweat the small imperfections and it's too short not to celebrate the small victories.

Here's to those that lost their lives and those that lost the lives of  loved ones. Here's to those that gave their lives trying to save others and to those that became heroes in that Pennsylvania field.

You are gone...but not forgotten.

I will never forget.
                                                            To the victims and their families...