9/11: 20 Years Later…
This Saturday is the 20th year of remembrance of a significantly devastating event in world history. This day was tremendously impactful on my life and I am honored to share my thoughts and experiences from September 11, 2001.
A tragic day truly that changed the world.
I remember it being difficult to hear up at the top, almost like being at the top of a mountain. There were people all around me but their sounds were faint and far away. The sky was filled with thick, foggy clouds that made it difficult to see into the distance. I remember trying to look for the Statue of Liberty and feeling excited that this was my first trip to New York City. The wind was so strong and inconsistent that it blew my hair in multiple directions and almost made it difficult to take in a deep breath. I remember feeling scared to walk too close to the edge. I remember thinking I can’t believe I’m standing on the tallest building in the world.
I was a third grader living on the east coast when the airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers. My memories of this time were especially impressionable because my family and I had visited the World Trade Center just three weeks prior to the events of September 11, 2001. I remember watching in confusion as the news cycles continued to show footage of people running for their lives, smoke consuming the streets of New York City, and the perpetual use of the word “terrorist.”
As information about the attacks surfaced, my family and I made chilling connections to the victims who were on the flights departing from Logan Airport. My family moved from California to Massachusetts in the summer of 2001 and we had travelled through Logan multiple times. Two of the hijacked airplanes were flying from Boston to Los Angeles, which was the opposite flight itinerary that we took for our move.
Every time I reflect on that day and the happenings that followed, my mind slows down. Although I was miles away from New York City on 9/11, I can’t help but consider that I could have been there. This is why writing this post was such a great honor and a challenge. I wanted to genuinely relay the awful feelings associated with this horrific event, as unsettling as they are to imagine; but also the feelings of pride that I developed for my home nation.
In the wake of 9/11 I remember the stories of ordinary people acting as heroes. I remember neighbors coming together to support each other. I remember the idea that Americans became united and took ownership of the idea of being “one nation.” I remember the inspiring message from former President George W. Bush when he said, “America is the brightest beacon of freedom and opportunity in the world and that no one will keep that light from shining.” I remember that people all over the world demonstrated kindness.
Reflecting on this 20th Anniversary, I am again reminded of how profoundly thankful I am for each of my days and for the positive ways our country came together. As I remember those who were lost, those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice everything for our safety, I will also remind myself that it shouldn’t take a harrowing event to be kind to all.
There are many September 11th memorial sites that can be visited in observance of this significant event. Visiting the World Trade Center Memorial or similar museums or monuments can be a heartfelt way to honor the 2,977 victims. There are various video clips available in historic archives that honor survivors who tell their stories.
*Meet the Author*
Meghan has been with Leadership Inspirations for four years. She holds a B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies from Chapman University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Regis University
Favorite Quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wild
Fun Facts: 1) My dream job would be an SNL cast member, 2) I love to plan parties 3) I sing in my car like I’m performing a sold-out show.