Today marks the 11th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?
I remember the morning of 9/11/01 as a sunny Tuesday—quick to turn dismal.
A student at J.E. Harrison Middle School in Whitehall, I was in eighth grade, first period social studies with Mr. Housteau. The day began like any other, until our teacher was notified of "a second World Trade Center bombing." Soon after, we had all figured out what really happened, increasingly confused, shocked and saddened.
The rest of the morning, into the afternoon, was much of a blur. Little did I know, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaida had hijacked four passenger jets—one, United Airlines Flight 93, crashing just 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh in Shanksville, Somerset, PA.
Later that day, I can remember my mom vividly explaining her emotions as she had watched the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, crash into the South Tower on live TV at 9:03 a.m. I remember watching as people jumped from the burning building, falling to their deaths, as it was, horribly, the better option.
My family and I were supposed to go on a trip to Italy just days later, which was postponed. I remember thinking how afraid I was to get back on a plane.
Sept. 11 and the innocent victims who perished in the attacks reflect in my mind often—especially, when I fly somewhere. It's hard to imagine what that experience was like for them—in the air, in the towers, in the Pentagon and in New York City, where many of my friends now reside and work.
There's nothing quite like the magnificence and juxtaposed peacefulness of the memorials that rest at Ground Zero today. Let's take a moment to pray for the special lives lost, those affected and the brave men and women first responders.
So as we reflect on such tragedy, where were you on 9/11? Were you affected? Did you lose a loved one? Did you volunteer in the ongoing relief effort? Have you visited the memorial and/or museum?
Share your story in the comments.