I don't usually participate in sappy cliched things but I think 9/11 is a little different. I remember getting up for school, I had college classes early. It was strange because my mom was on the phone. She turned on the television and the first thing I saw was a repeated image of a plane hitting two tall buildings. At first I thought it was a joke. Then, as we continued watching, the commentators just kept saying we had been attacked. On our own soil, innocent people had been mercilessly murdered. I felt like I was in a fog.
In my own selfish teenage way, one of my first thoughts centered on myself. Joel and I had begun dating only a month prior and he had planned a trip from Illinois to come see me in Colorado. He was supposed to be leaving the next day. Classes at the college were, of course, not cancelled. They did not cancel for anything.
I arrived at my first class. It was American history. We had barely opened our textbooks when the fire alarm went off. We were much more frightened then I would have been normally. I grabbed my purse because I didn't know what to think. All the students huddled outside, unsure of what had happened. We found out later it was just a routine drill. Poor timing. While we waited to outside I kept hearing murmurings. Cheyenne Mountain was sure to be attacked people said, or the Academy, where I lived. There were both symbols of America's power and patriotism. It was scary. The mall closed, and they called me to tell me I did not need to come into work.
We tried to get back into our class after the drill was called, but our professor had left. Honestly, I think he was pretty shaken up. The rest of the day was spent running up to the television the school had put on the second floor. Every time the news seemed worse-the crash in Pennsylvania, the attack on the Pentagon. Was the White House safe? Still, I continued to worry about Joel. When I went home that night my car was searched going onto the Academy. That had never happened before. They continued to search every vehicle for quite a while afterwards. They even changed the high school schedule for Air Academy High. They went to school in the afternoon for several weeks to help keep the morning traffic down a little. I called Joel and he made plans to leave that evening. He drove straight through the night. We were worried that gas prices would rise in response to the crisis. Funny, that happened, but not for several years.
When he arrived the next day, I was never so happy to hug him. Truly, it made me glad to have my loved ones nearby. I wanted to stay in my house with my family and just keep them all safe. Soon my dad would leave, his duty to keep military men and women healthy as they protected our freedom. He left almost exactly a month after. I think it may have hit me even harder then how real the occurences had been.
9/11 changed our lives. People fly flags now, Joel knew when he joined the Army in 2004 that he would certainly deploy, and he has twice fought against the injustices committed that day. I was so proud to be an American then, and that fierce pride has only grown. I love our nation, I support our flag, I would die for our freedom. I may post the same thing every year but I don't care. I will never forget....