It was a clear, crisp, cloudless morning as I headed to my 8am class at Butler University. Nothing was out of the ordinary except it was just a particularly gorgeous day. My class ended around 9 am, and as I walked the halls of Jordan Hall I noticed that most offices and classrooms had their televisions on, which struck me as odd. I headed to the Speech Pathology office, which was my normal in-between hangout. I walked in to seeing Dr. Reading and a couple of others gathered around the tiny conference room tv. The screen showed a tower of smoke and reporters discussing how a small commuter plane had struck one of the towers.
The second plane hit the tower and time stood still. The realization of being under attack and not knowing what was next combined with the loss of life that we witnessed was so heavy.
Shortly after there were reports of another hijacked plane along with other unaccounted planes. I lived in the middle of a metropolitan area where the flight path went right overhead. I enjoyed watching the planes fly overhead as I walked to and from classes, but suddenly it felt as if they were missiles. We all felt vulnerable.
My fiancé was interviewing for an internship at an airplane engineering and manufacturing company that supplies the military, so I knew I couldn’t call him, even though I wanted desperately to hear his voice.
The South Tower Collapsed.
I called my dad with a shaky voice. “Are we at war?” “What is going on?” “Who did this?” “Should I come home?” “Am I safe to stay here?”
I headed to my 10am Communications Class and we turned the television on to PBS which was the only channel that was coming in clearly in a room that didn’t get cable.
The North Tower Collapsed.
We watched as people ran for their lives and an enormous cloud of smoke swallowed up Manhattan.
I came out of class into a hallway of eery silence of stunned students who’s lives had just changed forever by the morning events. One girl I knew was clinging to a friend and crying “I can’t get ahold of my dad“.
Like many of us, my story of that morning has no direct connection to the lives lost that September morning, but I still deeply felt grief and the attack on our freedom. I had lived in a bubble of safety,naiveness, and comfort of being an American. I had never witnessed that much loss of life at once, in so many images permanently burnt in my memory.
I vow to never forget that September morning and my beloved country who was attacked that day.
Even if it’s painful to remember, remember we must. It’s an action we owe them – the victims, the survivors, the military, the rescue workers, the heroes.
We haven’t forgotten and we will continue to help others remember.