I was up early for a Bible study, Band of Brothers as I recall. It was a typical day, me a senior in college.
I actually had a double breakfast that morning. I went from the Band of Brothers Bible study at Panera to a McDonald’s to meet my dad.
My dad asked me if I had heard about the plane hitting the tower. I said, “Crazy.” And we went on. It was only a fluke occurrence, a random thing. Then, the second plane hit the tower right as we were sitting there in McDonald’s.
What’s going on?
I had to go to school. I said bye and headed to my classes. But now everyone was alert. Everything was changing.
The next flash of memory I recall was me walking down the halls in the humanities building. They had cancelled classes. I walked down the hall and it felt like slow motion. People talked in hushed voices. Others walked hurriedly. I went in one classroom where a group of students huddled around a television, the towers black with smoke. I saw people jumping out of the building. On live television. Even now the memory brings me tears.
What was going on?
Life was forever changing.
My dad called to check on me. My mom told me not to join the army. And I sat in the grass on a hill facing humanities trying to get my head around it.
That night my roommates and I finally gathered to compare notes from the day. We watched the news. We discussed war. It was a strange moment.
A couple months later, in the first of December, I would stand with my buddy at Ground Zero. We were there at night. The place was still a heap of metal with construction lights lighting the scene like some makeshift memorial. There was a temporary fence up, and it was covered with pictures and flowers and wreaths. Through the fence you could see the wreckage. The buildings around seemed to be weeping, each one with damaged sides mangled and falling into the wreckage like tears.
Life went on. Classes resumed. We went back to work. People laughed again. But life had changed. Our understanding of the world had changed. We had lost something.
I remember months after that listening intently to every plane flying overhead. I remember looking closely at every jet flying low.
For us who lived it, we have so many heartstrings attached to that day. In fact, I was surprised to find myself last year, on the ten year memorial, wrecked with tears and emotions watching all the television specials. I realized how connected I was to that moment of history. That tragedy was not just some fact; it is a part of me.
So I will remember. Again and again, I will remember. I will remember that day and those people. And I will long for the day when this whole world will be set right.