I was 11 years old on that crisp September morning, unaware of the scope of the world and it's troubles...
I was sitting in 6th grade English class when our Science teacher burst through the door in a panic, "There's been an accident in New York, turn on the news" he managed to mutter to our teacher.
Without even questioning the intrusion, our teacher quickly fumbled for the remote and tuned in.
Silence fell in the air, there before us stood a building, smoke billowing from it's upper layers. I immediately recognized the building as one of the Twin Towers, the World Trade Center and once the tallest buildings in the world, a structural amazement to my young brain.
Various news broadcasters were chatting unintelligible murmurs of sympathy, shock, and inquiry covering every possible angle, while the rest of the room and thus world looked on, paralyzed in time.
Our eyes unremoved from the horrific scene before us, bared witness to an evil like we had never experienced before. Within moments, the calm sadness was swallowed deep into the pits of our guts as we watched another plane fly straight into the second tower.
The parasitic tendrils of fear coursed through the red-blooded veins of every American in that second as the reality of this hour was entirely realized. This was a direct attack. Not an accident. Not an error of judgement. A planned, funded, professionally executed attack.
Reports began coming in of another jet airliner that was hijacked, but crashed to the ground in Pennsylvania due to the heroic actions of it's occupants, and yet another that apparently struck the Pentagon.
19 years, but I can still remember like it was yesterday.
Then the buildings came down. Not just one, but BOTH twin towers, and some surrounding buildings. Including Building 7, which was not struck by a plane, but somehow managed to collapse upon it's own weight due to "structural fires".
Many teachers allowed class to be nothing more than following the day's news stories, while others tried to get our minds off the situation by maintaining normal class. After school, I can remember my Mom especially anxious and out of sorts, speaking about love, family and patriotism for our country.
*Coincidentally, that evening my sister was playing with our phone and somehow dialed 911, which brought the extremely on edge police department to our door; though they understood the mix-up.*
2,977 people were murdered...over 6,000 injured...tens of thousands of people lost loved ones...millions of people directly affected.
The days, weeks, months, and even couple of years following this tragic and infamous moment in American history was a very sensitive and vulnerable time for the people living in this nation. Our entire way of life and perspective on the world was changed in what felt like the blink of an eye.
In light of the current state of our country, with neighbors now hating, attacking, beating, and even killing each other over their political differences, I think it would do all Americans good to really take a look back. Not just as a social media op, but sit and actually ponder how maybe in the last 19 years we've lost our way as a UNITED land.
How maybe, JUST MAYBE, there have been agents of chaos who have capitalized on our fears, vulnerabilities, and love for our country to turn us against one another and tear down this already fragile nation. Even if they were not the ones to perpetuate this incident of terror and destruction (I'll leave that determination up to you), they have directly exploited it for 19 years to pursue their agenda of divide and conquer while siphoning wealth, liberty, and the hope of a future from our people.
We can reclaim the brotherhood and respect for our fellow community members that America once thrived upon.
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.