9/11/01 remembered

It was a day like any other. We were short-handed at the restaurant I was working at, catering to the usual morning crowd.

Associated Press

I heard someone say, “A plane hit one of the Towers,” and suddenly, the day wasn’t usual anymore. In fact, it would be day we would never forget.

We didn’t have a TV in the restaurant and had to rely on the radio in the kitchen for any news. Officials first thought it was a random accident, but when another plane hit the other Twin Tower 17 minutes later, an eerie silence filled the restaurant.

We tried to continue, business as usual, but it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. The shock and panic that filled each and every one of us told the tale of how nothing would ever be the same. As I listened to the news report that a plane going down in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon being hit by an airplane, I got a scared and sick feeling in my stomach.

The days that followed were filled with stories of tragedy, heroism, and more tragedy. I got to the point where I couldn’t watch the news anymore because it was too difficult to think about what those people went through.

New fears gripped the nation, and with it came a new word, which would become a part of American’s vocabulary: Terrorism.

As the years went by, people began to adapt to the new America; a country that had to become more vigilant, more secure, and more guarded. We became suspicious of our neighbors, because suddenly, everyone was a suspect. No one was safe.

But Americans are fighters and we vowed not to let Terrorism do that to us. We wouldn’t “let those acts divide us and together we would win the war on terrorism.”

But it’s a never-ending battle. Those who have a hatred for America are constantly devising plans to destroy us, leading us to believe that we will always have to watch, to wait, and be ready for anything.

We will never be the same again.

Nor will we forget the people who died, the loved ones who were lost, and the heroes who were made that day, 11 years ago.

Twin Towers memorial-Associated Press

Today, as I watched video clips of that horrific day, those same feelings of empathy and terror welled up inside of me and I can’t help but think the terrorists did what they set out to do. They have made us afraid of our own shadows. As much as we would like to think that we feel safe and secure, are we really?

The memorial in New York City looks nice, and I would like to see it someday to pay tribute to all those who died. Those who remember that day have been affected in one way or another. It’s something that’s impossible to forget.

We would never want to, anyway.

We can’t not remember

Stories began last week, memories of, “Where were you when the Twin Towers were hit?” No other explanation was needed; the images were instantly relived signifying that tragic day.

september11news.com

It was unreal; horrifying, devastating, and terrifying, all at once. I was working as a server at Village Inn when reports started to come in on the radio in the kitchen. I couldn’t stop working, but the mood was noticeably changed. The uncertainty of what was going on had everyone on edge.

As the towers fell and it was announced that other forms of terrorism were simultaneously being played out, my mind raced with the possibility that we were being invaded by another country. (Terrorism had not yet become a household word in our country.)

As the days unfolded after 9/11, it became apparent that all of our lives had changed because of what had happened; not just because of how many lives were lost, but because we no longer felt safe. We no longer felt secure. Our homeland was no longer invincible.

As I sit and watch the replaying of the tapes of 9/11, I am reminded what I was thinking that day; that we would never be the same.

Watching the towers being hit by the planes and engulfed in flames, seeing people jump to their deaths,  and the towers collapsing; these images are too gruesome to witness again, and again, and again…but we have to.

We can’t not remember how and why we changed from being a naive country thinking that we couldn’t fall victim to acts of terrorism, to being constantly on our guard, looking around corners and being suspicious of others, even in our own country. It has made us reluctant to trust others and their motives. We no longer know who our friends are.

We are no longer “Land of the Free”. Sept. 11, 2001 changed all that. We are captives of distrust.