I live in New York City only a few miles away from where the towers once stood and I remember that tragic day vividly.
I remember exactkly where in my fifth grade classroom I was standing when I heard the news from an eigth grader who had snuck a radio into school. I was in shock when I heard the news. I came home from school early and found that my parents had moved the TV from the den into my room. I sat down next to them, my hands in theirs, with tears in my eyes and I watched again and again as the two planes barreled into the towers and the buildings collapsed, killing so many people. I have a couple of friends who lost parents in the attacks and it was so terrible for everybody. It hurts me to remember the day but it is a day that must be remembered.
I remember the days immediately following the attacks when every house and every car had an American flag on it. We all came together as a nation and put aside our difference to join together to share the pain and sorrow. I remember one year after the attacks when the streets of New York City were lined with people holding candles that dimly illuminated the night in rememberence of loved ones and people they knew or did not know.
I was at Game 3 of the 2001 World Series when President Bush threw out the first pitch in Yankee Stadium and the staduim shook with applause, then was silent as a graveyard during a moment of silence and then exploded again as Roman Tynan finished singing the national anthem. The city of New York came together, disregarding all our differences and forever bonded as brothers to one another.
I read books that were later published but the one that hit home the most was a publication by Time Magazine. There were interviews with survivors and families of victims. It had pictures of the tower as it collapsed and people jumping out of the windows to escape the hell on earth. Its so horrific and although presently, the power of that day has faded as you travel farther from the epicenters of attack in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, here in New York, we all still feel the terror and pain of that day. Last night as I was in a car with a couple of friends coming home from school, someone pointed out the two beams of light that seemed to stretch endlessly up into the heavens and the sight was so beautiful yet so terrible.
September 11, 2001 is a date that no American will ever forget and those days carry so many memories of anguish. But it also taught us a lesson. That when we are faced with hardship and suffering, we must all stand together and honor those heroes. The heroes who lost their lives. The heroes who saved others and lost themselves in the process. The heroes who are now sick because of their efforts on the pile of ground zero. We remember them all and we will never forget them. Because we and they are Americans.