What is Your 9/11 Story?

What is Your 9/11 Story?

Every generation has an event that has shaped people’s lives for good or for bad. For my generation it was 9/11. If you have a 9/11 story, no matter how boring or unremarkable it may seem, I hope you continue to share it.

Events that Change our Life

I spent this past Labor Day Weekend at my father-in-law’s house. He’s led a very interesting life in his 88 years. He’s an American born in Paris, raised in England and an accomplished scholar with a PhD in both Chemistry and French Literature. At 88, he’s seen so much but now his age is working fast and furious against his memory.

However, he can tell you about participating in the blackouts in England, especially the London Blitz in 1940. Although he was just a kid then, he can still vividly recall working with his family every night to turn off all the lights and pull the blackout curtains tightly shut so both the Germans as well as the English Air Raid Wardens wouldn’t find them. He can explain how he could tell the sound of a German plane verses the English Spitfires.  German fighters made a whoowhoowhoo sound, but you finally breathe if you heard the roar of a Spitfire instead.

Connection to Tragedy

It was an event that changed my Father-in-law’s life forever. It changed his normal. It’s similar to the story my Mom used to tell me about a November day in 1963. I remember even as middle school kid, listening to my Mom tell her story about the day President Kennedy was assassinated. The nuns at her school cried, she came home and her Mom was crying. America was sad and scared.

Now, of course I wasn’t present for the 1940 London Blitz or the day that all of America cried in 1963, but I’ve heard the first-hand accounts of people who lived it. When people tell their stories of tragedy, it helps them to heal. It brings generations and nations together. It keeps history alive and it helps to honor the memory of people that were lost in those tragedies.

Honor Their Memory Today

Today, September 11th, is Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance Day. We honor the thousands of men, women, and children that died on September 11, 2001, in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Over the next 16 years, thousands of men and women served our country and gave their lives during the War on Afghanistan, the longest war in United States history.

Today, honor the memory of the fallen by taking a moment of silence or prayer. Volunteer in your community or do a good deed for someone in need. Share your 9/11 story with someone who wasn’t around or wasn’t old enough to remember 9/11.  Remember that we have servicemembers serving our country today that were still in diapers on September 11, 2001. Or just share your story with a friend, family member, or even a stranger. Ask to hear their story too.

My 9/11 Story

Now, the 9/11 story from a 17 year old in the middle of Iowa isn’t very remarkable, but it’s my story. I remember I was a 17 year old senior in high school on September 11th. I wasn’t in class because I was helping to prepare for the Homecoming assembly that would take place in a few hours.  16 years later, I can tell you exactly what I was wearing and what song was playing on the radio (Destiny’s Child’s Bootylicious) when the DJ broke in to announce one of the Twin Towers was on fire. They stopped playing music on the radio and the DJs were trying to describe what they were seeing on TV. Iran to my Biology teacher, Mr. Robinson’s classroom and asked him to turn on the TV.

I remember my cheeks turning red when he scolded me about joking about such a serious thing. I promised him I wasn’t joking, I heard about it on the radio. He turned on the TV in time to see the smoking North Tower. We both watched in horror along with the rest of his students as the second plane hit the South Tower.

Where Were You on 9/11?

I bet most of my readers have a similar story. I know you can tell me exactly where you were that morning of September 11, 2001. You remember what you were doing, who you were with and how you found out. Keep telling your stories, no matter how ordinary and unremarkable they seem. Share your story, to honor and to heal, and to keep history alive.

2 thoughts on “What is Your 9/11 Story?”

  • I was just starting my sophomore year of college. We (3 of my roommates and I) had just finished morning PT for ROTC and we were walking towards the gym parking lot to go back to the dorms. Somebody came out of the ROTC main building and told us the World Trade Center had been hit by an airplane. I remember the group of us saying something like “oh, that’s too bad” – we all assumed it was a small, Cessna-172 type aircraft similar to the 1994 Cessna-150 crash on the White House grounds.

    Once we got back up to the dorms and found everybody awake and watching TV at 7am, we realized something bigger was going on. We spent the whole morning staring at the TV and trying to reach our parents – phones circuits were overwhelmed so it took awhile to get through.

    I’d signed my paperwork committing to my scholarship, and therefore four years of active duty, the week prior. They brought all of us together and talked about what this meant for us – that the military we’d planned to join was about to change dramatically. There was talk of letting people out of their commitments, but as far as I know nobody took them up on the offer.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Military Dollar. Have just signed your commitment paperwork a week prior, 9/11 drastically changed you and your family’s lives. I think the general public forgets we have an all volunteer military. Heroes see danger and face it head on. Thank you for your service to our country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *