I was going to college at Utah State University. I'd just moved into a new house and we didn't have a working television. I woke up early and started my day normally, tho a bit ahead of schedule. I was headed to the student center to use the computer lab, but just outside the lab was a TV monitor with a group of students gathered, standing, watching. It was still early, just around 7 am, so there weren't a lot of people on campus, yet, but the terrible events of 9/11 were just unfolding. I believe the first flight had just crashed into the WTC, and everyone just stood there, watching it happen again and again.

I can remember thinking that it looked like some CG special effects, something that happens in the movies, not something that happens in real life. Next came the report of the second plane, headed for the WTC. I remember President Bush speaking, informing the country of an apparent terrorist attack. The crowd in the student union kept growing. As new students would come in and ask what was happening, others would answer in hushed tones. It was a quiet, solemn group, including both students and teachers. The helplessness and shock was evident on everyone's face. No one felt like moving, and I think I stood there for close to two hours, just watching the events unfold.
Reports continued to come in, explaining in sketchy detail news about another flight that crashed into the Pentagon & its subsequent evacuation. Then news of the White House evacuation, the United Nations evacuation, President Bush's removal, and the shutdown of all U.S. flights. Next was more news, another flight, this time crashed in Pennsylvania. It seemed never-ending...it was hard to justify our quiet lives in our quiet town with our trivial problems next to the destruction that was unfolding before us. And all we could do was stand there and watch, all the while with more pictures and video of the WTC and the Pentagon collapsing.

I tried to call home, but couldn't get through..."all circuits are busy."
I finallly went to class. The class was small, everyone was distracted, and the Professor dismissed us early. Everywhere that there were televisions on campus, there were large groups of the student body, all watching in silence.

Like everyone, my thoughts instantly went to my family & loved ones. I eventually went home, hoping to be close to a phone so that I could talk to my Mom and Dad and hear that everything was all right. It was. Dad had been traveling, but not on the East coast. He was in the airport when the news hit, and instantly headed for a rental car place, and started driving.

Our country, MY country. We all mourned together over the losses and celebrated the bravery. For a short while, everyone came together, united by a common enemy. Patriotism was even in style. Today, let's remember our country. Let's remember our common ground, and the things that make the places that we live wonderful.

Let's remember.

photo credit by ses7


The Ringer Family said...

well said - you're an amazing writer! I remember on that day feeling so proud to be an American and getting chills when I saw all the American flags flying...

Erich and Kara said...

It's very sobering to reflect back on that day. Thanks for making a little patriotic tribute. We all too often take our country for granted. I know that living in Africa definitely changed my perspective and helped solidify for me how lucky I am to be an American.

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