Ten years ago today, I was an 11th grader at Southeast Raleigh High School, sitting in Algebra 3 Trigonometry making last minutes plans for my sweet 16th birthday and birthday party that were only days away. The bell rang to signal the change of classes, I packed up my things and proceeded to my next class. As I was leaving class I ran into one of the class clowns in the hall way and he was going on and on about the USA being under attack and a plane flying into a building. I laughed at him thinking this was yet another one of his practical jokes and went ahead to class. As soon as I walked into the room the look on my teachers face said it all. She was standing in the door, shaking her head with her face glued to the class television. I looked up at the screen and realized that for once, the practical joker was unfortunately not joking at all. We sat there watching the TV as the second plane hit, trying to wrap our teenage brains around what was going on. Then they announced that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, I went from trying to comprehend what was happening and why it was happening, to sheer panic. My dad was on active duty at the time and I knew he was in the DC area so I remember fighting back tears as I waited for what seemed like forever for him to reply to my text. The rest of that school day was pretty much pointless. We did absolutely nothing. They even cancelled all after school activities for the day.
Its amazing how quickly lives can change. I often think about the innocent men and women that kissed their kids and spouses as they left for what they thought was a typical workday. I often think about how many of them suffered before their lives were snatched from them. I often think about how many girls and boys had to learn how to drive, tie a tie, get ready for their first dance without one of their parents. I replay the phone call of the flight attendant to her husband telling him she loved him and their children. I know there’s nothing we can do to bring back the innocent lives lost. I understand that time may heal visible wounds, but the emotional ones can last a life time. So on this September 11th, I would like to say Thank You to men and women of the armed forces that continue to put their lives on the line in an effort to protect America. Thank you for willingly missing birthdays, holidays and other special occasions so that I can live a in a free America. Thank you for answering the call to protect and serve, knowing that the outcome could be death. Thank you for your selfless acts of kindness. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!