Four months had passed since my high school graduation, and I had taken the first steps towards making my childhood dreams come true. I was enrolled in the University of West Georgia, pursuing a degree in English, naïve, innocent, and enjoying the first few freedoms of college and being an adult.
The drive home from my morning class was an easy one. I cut through country roads to get back to Bremen in just under twenty minutes. I had a few hours to study and work on Algebra homework before having to go back. I had my radio tuned to my favorite station, fully expecting to enjoy a little music on my drive and to forget about the evilness of math for just a few moments.
Instead, I was introduced to a new kind of evil.
The radio wasn’t playing music. Not any station. Frantic voices were detailing a frantic message. New York City was under attack. The United States was under attack.
I was naïve alright. I had been raised in a nation that was strong and proud, that didn’t have to worry about things like random attacks from foreign countries. I would never be so naïve about such things again. The bubble I’d lived in for so long had been popped.
Fear paralyzed me. What did this mean? Was my family in danger? Was this just the start of something more? The reports at this point were sketchy at best. No one seemed to know what was going on and that only scared me more. I remember calling my mom, begging her for an explanation of what was going on. In my experience, my parents always knew the answers, but this time, even she was confused and frightened.
When I got home, I turned the television on and witnessed pure horror. I don’t have to describe what I saw because many of you saw the same thing. You watched along with me as the devastation unfolded before our eyes.
I wasn’t the only one with my entire life ahead of me on that warm September day. Thousands of others had their entire lives ahead of them as well, and their bright, beautiful futures were stolen from them without a thought.
Ten years have passed since that September day. The words that became a mantra during that trying time for our country ring true to this day: We Will Remember. And we have. We have remembered the bravery of so many of our fellow countrymen (and women).
We have remembered the courage displayed in simple ways, the kindness of stranger reaching out to stranger to offer comfort and compassion, a helping hand. We have remembered the lives lost, the souls taken away from us: a brother, a wife, a beloved child, a mother and father, a friend. We remember them because remembering them keeps them alive in our hearts; it means they didn’t die in vain.
We will always remember the attacks of September 11, 2001. We will remember them, and we will remember to never be naïve again, to never take for granted our freedom or our love of a proud and strong country.
This was in response to The Lightning and Lightning Bug Flicker on Inspiration Prompt: September. Come join us to link up and meet other great writers!
PS~ Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Jeremy! Long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, September 11th was just his birthday.