Twelve years have passed since that fateful morning when, in a flash, the United States and the world was changed forever. 9/11 will never be forgotten. As life endures we take this day to pay homage to those lost as a result of ignorance and jealousy. In a blink of an eye the years have flown by watching our children grow as the new World Trade Center climbed into the sky and became a new beacon of hope, freedom and remembrance.
A sparkling day welcomes a somber reminder of the day life changed.
On a beautiful Tuesday morning twelve years ago as metro New Yorkers headed out to work, all that one saw was a gorgeous sunny day. Soon on that lovely morning shock and fear replaced thoughts of enjoying some sunshine. On this day, just as it was on 9/11 2011, the New York City area woke to sunshine. As the sun shines down reflecting in the pools at the World Trade Center site it is a somber and important reminder that we do not forget when the planes crashed like bombs and the world was changed forever.
Terror hit us in the heart of the home.
Although we thought we understood war, most of us only knew of it as an experience viewed on the TV as reporters spoke to us from overseas. Twelve years ago on Sept. 11, 2001 war struck us in our own backyard. The beautiful weather was replaced by ashes, dust, fear and loss as an act of war hit New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and the rest of the country on that sunny morning. Suddenly the peaceful music I heard being played on the radio was replaced with news reports as the first plane hit. As the second plane hit and news came from other planes crashing in PA and the nation's capital our country truly understood what it was to be attacked personally by war.
In the world before 9/11 we had a false sense of security.
Although there were attacks on the United States before 9/11, they were contained and taken care of swiftly. Many attacks were by extremists born here. Who would of thought that anything could bring down the Twin Towers or the Pentagon all at once. Terrorists had hit the towers in the past with a bomb causing damage and death but no one could of imagined what was coming on that day. Most listening to the report of the first plane hitting did not even consider that an act of terrorism was occurring. My first thought was that an inexperienced pilot flying a small personal plane just hit the World Trade Center.
Soon after the second plane hit and the towers fell reality set in. Then we hear about the brave passengers who saved many others by crashing their airplane into a field and the other plane that hit the Pentagon. The work day came to a halt and the only priority now was to make sure our loved ones were safe.
In an instant our world was changed and we were at war to save our country and lives.
I ran home to pick up my then young daughter from school. I knew she was safe but needed her to be with me as the news confirmed that commercial jets were hijacked by terrorists to hit the World Trade Center. As we heard about the attacks in D.C. and Pennsylvania we had no idea as to what was to be next; the terrorists were hitting America at its core.
We were scared in our north shore Long Island town a mere 25 miles from New York City. People congregated at the beach on the Long Island Sound watching in disbelief as we could see the smoke rise from the World Trade Center and smell the stench in the air. Were we heading into World War III? What was to be of our children's futures. The perception that living in the United States meant that we would always be safe was no longer realistic. War had come to our shores.
The smoke we could see every day from Ground Zero for weeks and months was a daily reminder for us. Our local volunteers took turns to go perform their help assisting at ground zero. People came together gathering needed supplies to keep the workers as comfortable and safe as possible. Our quiet community got used to the constant blast of fighter jets circling above.
As the smoke started to subside we realized that life was never to be normal again.
Our police and federal enforcement agencies were unsure of how to protect such a dense population as metro New York. Every action seemed like an experiment. People were afraid to work in the city. I had to drive into New York City one day for a job. Traffic was completely at a standstill. They were stopping every truck and van at the bridges in fear of explosives, backing up every road for hours. Twenty five miles turned into a seven hour trip. We became a nation learning how to protect and exist by trial and error.
9/11 taught me to be brave enough to not be afraid. I soon changed my life expressing myself to the masses as a writer. My escape of writing personal poetry and journals before 9/11 became a way of making my feelings and knowledge stand for something and perhaps help others. We were in this together and it was important for me to do my part. Just as the terrorists challenged our society, I challenged myself and continue to this day, twelve years later, to continue the challenge of doing my part to express myself through my writing and videos.
Remembering 9/11 means to never be fearful to win the battle of life and to try new experiences. Life is a short dance in time to treasure every second. Never be ever be afraid to dance!
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