Ten years ago today, our nation was rocked by an event unbelievable to our generation. Not since Pearl Harbor was our nation so outraged. That event did something else too. It brought people, strangers and peoples of different nationalities together to help others in pain and in need. The worst in people brought out the best of America.
I was still in bed when Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Fifteen minutes later, I was coming out of the bathroom having just woken up when two of my friends walked into the house and told me The World Trade Center had been bombed. That’s what we thought at first. Confusion everywhere. On the news, on the radio. No one knew exactly what is going on.
We go to my room and turn on the news. I don’t remember what network. We watch as images of smoke come out of one of the Towers. I learn it’s the North Tower. We finally learn a commercial airplane has crashed into the north face of the Tower and watch as they show images of people evacuating the building.
Then we realize, the crash might not have been an accident. We sit there only a couple of minutes when we watch as Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower. America is being attacked. That’s not what’s on my mind though. My heart sinks and I realize with shock that I just witnessed hundreds of people dying.
We learn of panic and terror too real. People are falling from the tower. Are they falling? Are they jumping? Probably both.
People are running. They are bleeding, they are broken. They cry and scream. They look up to the Towers, the pain of a nation written on their faces. The hollow look of being haunted by these images for the rest of their lives.
It takes only a while for the news to confirm that America has been attacked by terrorists. Only minutes later, Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
And then the Towers fall. Listen to this dialogue between Kevin Cosgrove and 911, but beware. It is disturbing.
Dust clouds cover blocks surrounding the Towers. People run as they come down, as the dust rushes toward them.
We hear of another aircraft, later to learn it was Flight 93, has crashed in Pennsylvania.
The rest of the day and the days following were dedicated to searching for survivors at first, and then bodies. John McGloughlin and William Jimeno were the subjects of a 2006 film. Pasquale Buzzelli and 15 others took shelter in a stairwell in the North Tower. They survived as well.
In honor of those people who died in such a tragic event, light a candle, say a prayer, or have a few moments of silence. Take time to remember and feel the pain again as fresh as it was that day. Just because life goes on does not mean that lives should be forgotten.