Thirteen years ago today thousands of lives were lost in a series of coordinated attacks. It was one of those events that is permanently burned into my brain and I was one of the many who had the experience of watching it happen live.
My Morning Thirteen Years Ago
My morning started like any other: I was having breakfast (I even remember that I was having waffles with whipped cream and chocolate chips) and getting ready for yet another day in middle school. My mom turned on the news (KTLA) and we expected to see the usual kinds of soft stories that were readily available on any given morning. Instead we were treated to an unforgettable scene.
The camera was focused on the first of the Twin Towers in the World Trade Center to be hit; there was a gaping hole in the building with a considerable amount of smoke pouring out. Papers and personal artifacts were blowing in the wind as they followed their descent toward the ground. The voice of the anchors was more somber than I’ve ever heard; they spoke as if they were shell-shocked as well. I was still a kid at the time and didn’t fully understand what was going on at the time; all I know is that I’d never seen that look on my mom’s face before. I’m the only one in my family that watched the second plane go into the other tower; my mom had gone into the kitchen to retrieve something about a minute before it happened. Never before had I seen such a completely real explosion happening live.
When I got to school it seemed as though nothing was amiss since the bell hadn’t yet rung to instruct us to go to class. I met up with my friends and they were all their usual cheery selves. None of them ever watched the news in the morning so I got the joy of bringing up the subject when they asked me if I knew why certain people around campus seemed melancholy. I don’t relish that conversation and I never have. It still hadn’t completely sunk in yet for me but that was about to change.
In every class throughout the day the scheduled lecture was cancelled and the TV in each classroom remained on. Only once the teacher I looked-up to the most started sobbing did the reality of the situation finally hit me: America had just suffered its worst terrorist attack and I had watched a considerable number of innocent people die as it happened. All of those lives had been lost in an instant and it was broadcast to the entire country.
It floors me that my generation will be the final one to remember the attack as it happened; the current generation either hadn’t yet been born or is too young to remember it.
Fast Forward to This Morning
I was having a normal day at work and talking with my buddies about life and women (yeah, that’s pretty much every day for us). I had ashamedly forgotten the date and I turned to look at my phone; I saw “09/11/14” on the display and went “Oh shit, I can’t believe I forgot” out loud. For some reason the flag outside my building being at half-mast hadn’t been the instant-giveaway that it should have been.
After a brief detour I came home and changed into my Ranger Up “Patriot’s Day” shirt that I bought a few years ago.
I spent the rest of my day thinking about that moment thirteen years ago and it was further solidified as the day where my view of the world completely changed.