Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

Ten years ago today our country and the world were shook by a terrible tragedy.  As I look back on that day, I think it is important to reflect, remember, and process what has happened over the past ten years. 

I remember that day as if it were yesterday, as I'm sure most people do.  The day started off as a typical Tuesday.  I was a student at the University of Arizona and I had four classes that day.  My normal routine was to get to campus early and go to a study room on the 3rd floor of the Student Union.  While getting some reading done before class, a friend of mine walked in and told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  My first thought was that it was a small commuter plane, and since my friend didn't have many more details, I shrugged off the incident and continued reading.  About 20 minutes later a TV was wheeled in and I got my first glimpse of what was really going on.  I couldn't believe it.  To this day I can't describe the emotions I felt.  It was a combination of shock, horror, fear, and grief.  To add to my emotional distress, I knew my parents were scheduled to fly home from Philadelphia to Los Angeles that day.  I couldn't get through to them.

I tried to make my day as normal as possible and continued to my classes.  My first class was American Literature, but there was no discussion about The Scarlet Letter that day.  Those who showed up tried to digest and process what was happening in our world.  It felt healthy to talk about it and share our emotions.  My next two classes were cancelled, and finally, around lunch time, I was able to get through to my family back east.  Everyone was OK.  I went to my last class of the day and again shared with my classmates.  It's hard to explain the bond that was created that day, but everyone shared a common experience, as tragic as it may have been, that helped connect us in a profound way.  I learned more about the people in my classes that day than I ever had in any other class I took. 

My roommate, Blake, and I also shared in our grief.  We didn't quite know what to do with ourselves that day.  We couldn't concentrate on school work.  There were no sports to take our mind off things.  We put ESPN on in an attempt to watch the coverage of the tragedy through a different lens.  And we started working on a jigsaw puzzle.  The puzzle was of two bears in a forest.  I still have it, and as a personal tribute, I will put it together again.

Ten years later, I am still in shock over what happened.  I still don't know what it means in the context of the greater world.  But what I do know is that it forever changed our world.  I don't have any words of wisdom to end this post with.  I don't have any profound advice to give.  All I have are memories and reflections, much like everybody else.  I remember those who lost their lives, I remember those who shared that day with me, and I try to live my life serving others, because you never know what kind of impact you may have on the world.

Never Forget 9/11/01

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