I had been at my small, liberal arts college for a little over a week. I was still trying to be somewhat healthy and got up at 8am and got my ass to the gym. (What I wouldn't give for that 115 lb ass now that I thought was so huge back then.) I walked into the gym and noticed a couple of upperclass girls who I'd already decided were awesome and I wanted to be friends with. I shot smiles at them and proceeded to get down to business on the treadmill. CNN morning was news was on the television, and the girls were all getting a pretty good laugh over--what I had gathered to be--a plane that had just idiotically crashed into a building. One of the twin towers to be exact. I remember them commenting on just how bad a pilot had to be to crash into a building this huge this blatantly. You see, the sound was off on the television, and we all thought it was just some silly, albeit scary and tragic accident.
As we were watching the coverage of this lost pilot, we realized another plane was headed straight for the other building. Suddenly, as impact was made, the treadmills were absent-mindedly turned off, the laughter stopped, and we all stared, mouths agape, at the TV. For what felt like 10 years, no one spoke.
As the towers began to crumble,one girl sobbed, 'oh my God,' and tears began to stream down a few other girls' faces. I had no idea what was going on. I was terrified and confused and didn't know what any of this meant or why it was happening.
I silently walked back to my hall where the other girls were still sound asleep. I woke my roommate whose boyfriend was deployed to tell her the news. She burst into tears and immediately began trying to contact him. I went to the girls across the hall to wake them, and soon the entire floor was huddled in my RA's room watching coverage. We hugged, cried, comforted my roomie all we could while we pondered what our world would look like from this point forward.
To this day, I cannot watch coverage of that day without crying. Hearing the sheer panic in the voices of spectators, hearing the resignation in the voices of passengers calling to say goodbye to their loved ones, and remembering the fear we all felt hundreds of miles away and tucked into the safety of our Kentucky college campus.
Since that day, I have watched many documentaries, and honestly, I still can't tell you what I believe happened that day. But, today, 11 years from
when so many people lost their lives; so many lost husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends; so many valiantly gave their lives in pursuit of a rescue mission, I choose to remember them. I choose to think about the innocent victims of this tragedy and the heroic men in uniform who fight to keep us free. Here's to you. May God be with your families and this country. Forever.