Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

Today is Patriot's Day. 9/11. I can't believe that it has been 10 years. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago. I am so truly grateful for those men and women that serve and protect our country.

In remembrance, I thought I would post my memories about 9/11. I was 17 and had just started my Senior Year of High School a couple of weeks earlier.

That morning, my mom was listening to the radio as usual, and I sat down on the floor to have her do my hair (it was very long and I couldn't braid it myself) at about 6:00am.

After a few minutes, the two DJs came on the radio and announced that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. They talked like it was a small, personal plane. Mom stopped doing my hair and turned up the radio. The DJs repeated the report saying that they had no idea what was going on and that they would relay any info that they had. We went into the other room and the TV news was basically saying the same thing, but that it was a large plane. At first it seemed like it was an accident, a horrific accident, to say the least.

Mom sent us to seminary and school. I remember at seminary, we spent the entire time talking about it and eventually we went outside to listen to the radio in someone's car so we could know what was going on. I think that is when I found out that the plane had been highjacked and that a second plane had flown into the other tower. It became clear that this was no accident. Someone was attacking my country. Something that I didn't think was even possible.

After seminary, I went to the elementary school (where I was in a program through the high school to assist and shadow a teacher). I remember parking and walking into the class area, feeling so scared and worried about the Second Coming. I thought for sure that this had to be it. Turns out it wasn't, but I figured it HAD to be. America had never been attacked before, at least not in the last 50 years.

The kids didn't really understand the magnitude of what was going on (they were in 5th Grade). The teacher was really worried about how to explain it to the kids, but I don't remember them really asking about it. They asked about the buildings and where they were, but as soon as they realized that it was no where close, they weren't scared anymore. When I left a couple of hours later, they seemed to have moved on.

When I got to school, it was all everyone could talk about. Classes basically were just a discussion of what had happened and what it meant for our country. The TVs in each classroom were turned on to the news. When I went to my first class, I heard that the buildings had collapsed. The videos were horrific. I will never forget the the scenes of people jumping out of windows when they were hundreds of feet above the ground. I felt like I couldn't breathe when I saw the thick layers of dust and papers that blanketed Manhattan.

I had never seen destruction like that. The city had been turned into a ghost town. My heart broke for the families of those that were lost and killed. My arms were covered in goosebumps as I watched the videos of fireman rush into the buildings to rescue people, only to not return, sacrificing their lives for others. My courage and love for my country rose from the ashes of that day and I had never felt more patriotic than that day and the ones that followed.

There were a couple of things that happened to me after I found out about the attack that were particularly special to me and I was brought a lot of peace and comfort from those experiences. Maybe some day I'll share them.
A few weeks later was General Conference. I will always remember watching the Sunday Morning Session when President Hinckley got up and began his talk by announcing that our military had began bombing Afghanistan and hunting the people responsible for the terrorist attack. I had never thought I would hear a Prophet announce the beginning of a war that would last for at least 10 years. in General Conference. It was shocking. His talk following his announcement was powerful and I was filled with peace and comfort.

Despite what happened, the miracles that followed are truly amazing. The sacrifice that people were willing to give was awe inspiring and humbling. I only hope that I would be and will be willing to sacrifice my life for that of someone else.

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